Thursday, March 26, 2015

Evolution of Barbie hair

My sister has been begging me for years to do it. My husband would bring it up now and again and I’d always shoot the idea down. I like to think of myself as adventurous but not even the best of my friends could convince me. It finally took someone I see about once every 5 weeks to sway my opinion. She looked at me, begged me not to be mad, and told me what I had to do and after years of relenting I finally resisted.

I finally colored my platinum locks dirty blonde. 11 years of being a “hey-look-at-me” blonde now muted and understated.

I like change, in fact I welcome and even seek it out. The first time I went all over blonde I was in desperate need of a change. I had been highlighting my hair for a few years and had just gone through a devastating break up. I was living in Alabama, hated my job, had an apartment I could barely afford and the guy I was waiting for to graduate college just ended our 2 year relationship. My hair stylist at the time warned me that going all over blonde would be a lot of maintenance. She warned me that going so blonde would damage my hair and was a hobby and if I couldn’t afford that hobby not to bother. Coloring my hair felt like adopting a pet….I swore I would take care of it no matter how hard it would be and I wouldn’t fail on the job.

My hair dresser was right and my hair and I, we did have some hard times. I moved to Colorado for my flight attendant job and had a hard time finding a stylist that I liked and could afford on my $17 an hour job. I’d find girls that would do a great job and then quit their salon leaving no forwarding address. I had one touch up my roots then highlight with bleach causing it to be over-processed and fall out. I can look at pictures from 10 years ago and know exactly what state I was in by the length of my roots. When you live paycheck to paycheck and have no credit cards it’s hard to justify $200 on maintaining your hair. I struggled, I sacrificed, but I always found a way to keep my hair blonde as the sun. It’s changed and evolved as much as the hair dressers I had over the years. Sometimes it took on a more yellow hue, other people couldn’t seem to take it past orange. Color, it turns out, is a science and most hair dressers aren’t savvy enough to keep your locks in tact while using a 40 volume bleach. I’ve had my scalp burned so bad I had horrible 2nd degree scabs on my head from a job gone badly. My sister has often compared my hair to Barbie doll hair.

when I first moved to Denver
I found Candace Post at Foundations Salon through a mutual friend, who ironically enough we are both no longer friends with. She made me a deal the night I met her at a party that if I’d come in every 4 weeks she’d save my hair. “Your hair is orange” she said bluntly, “And it’s fried. We need to fix that.” The deal was too good to turn down so I took her card and found myself sitting in her salon chair a few weeks later. She was able to not only save the integrity of my hair but take it from orange to beautiful shades of platinum where it sometimes was almost purple. People would stop me and ask me if I was Swedish and stare in amazement and ask if that was my real color. When I became pregnant with my daughter my hair grew thick and longer than it had ever been. For the first time in my life I finally had the color, the length and the look I wanted and there was no more sacrifice.

Unfortunately pregnancy can not only wreck your body but also your hair. After Charlotte was born my hair began falling out in clumps and my shiny long hair became dull and brittle. Candace let me get away with it for a while then sat me down one day for the cold hard truth- we had to go darker. She thought I’d be mad but to her surprise I said OK. Yes, after years and years of bleach and processing and toners and clumps falling out it was time to let go.

I was ready.

A week after I went darker I was at a bar with my husband and one of his friends who remarked that his daughter, “Once had dirty blonde hair just like you.” This was the turning point for me. Of course we don’t look at ourselves in the mirror all the time so how we see ourselves becomes our interpretation of how others see us. My friend Dawnelle remarked that she loved the change in hair color and said it was an evolution of Yogi Magee. So I began to wonder, did changing my hair color change who I was? Could it change who I was?

I have to admit that comparatively I find myself a bit invisible now. I don’t feel like I stand out like I did before. People weren’t turning their heads to stare at me (which is both a good and bad thing) after I had my hair done this time. It was as if I put an invisible cloak on and started to walk about my life to see how people really saw me. For so long I held my identity in the color of strands of hair falling from my head and now I had to almost start over and redefine who I was…or rather who I always was and am.

Dawnelle was right, this was an evolution of my-self. Without the platinum blonde who else was I? I know I am a teacher and a student; I’m a mother and a wife. I’m a friend, sister, daughter, flight attendant, yogi and outdoors woman. I’m someone who hates to cook, loves to write and will never have twiggy legs. I can’t say that I was all of these things before I ever decided to go platinum but I’ve opened door after door to find who I am along the way.

The truth is, I was all of these things and it only took the right situations, people, spaces and city to bring out this version of myself. What I look like on the outside, what we look like on the outside, really has no bearing of what’s on the inside. For years I’ve wanted others to reflect who I wanted to be. I wanted others to see me as I saw me. I didn’t want to be the sad girl who was broken up with and living with her parents working a dead end job. Maybe I needed to color my hair 11 years ago to kick start what would evolve to the version of myself I am now…without that boost of confidence outwardly who knows where I’d be.

I can tell you now, I won’t have darker hair forever. I love the sunshine and light on my head and I’m sure I’ll be drawn back to it eventually when the time is right. For now, I’m enjoying the change outwardly which truly does reflect all the changes I’m going through on the inside. Perhaps that’s all that our appearances really are in the end…a manifestation of what’s happening inside…even if we’re a few years resistant.
having a baby kick started the next chapter of my life....everything's the same but everything's different just like my hair color...

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