A couple days before Halloween last year I dyed my hair blue. Brilliant, bright, big as day, sassy pants…blue. I was going as Joy from the movie Inside Out to a Halloween party and the store bought color spray wasn’t cutting it. I wanted to be authentic. Also – I always wanted to dye my hair.
Someone asked me later (after Halloween was over and I was clearly keeping my hair color), “What the hell were you thinking?”
And I wanted to say:
I was thinking it’s just hair. And that I’m lucky to be working from home in this season of my life. And that I’m not getting any younger. And that dying my hair bright blue seems plain ridiculous for a 80-year-old, so I should get it done at the sensible age of 44. Because regretting never dying my hair blue seems like a silly regret to have. And also – it’s just hair.
What I said was:
I know, I’m crazy.
And maybe I am. Just a little. But here’s the funny thing. Life for three months with blue hair was pretty amazing. Because every day. Every. Day. Someone, somewhere stopped to tell me they liked it. At the dry cleaners. At the grocery store. At the doctor’s office. At my kid’s school.
People with piercings and tattoos and people in business casual clothes. People with law and medical degrees. Young and old people. People who act and sing, groom dogs, teach school, crunch numbers, work on cars, own companies….
People who I would never had had a conversation with before would stop and say, “you go – girl.” One lady at a convention came over to me after the speaker had wrapped up and said “I couldn’t stop looking at your hair – I had to come and tell you how awesome it is.” And someone else hugged me. A stranger. Which was a little weird. But oddly, ok.
And also – people stared. And little kids pointed. And some people clearly did not like it. At all.
Which is ok, too. Because putting yourself out there means you accept both good and bad reactions.
Admittedly, during the first week I was a little timid. I thought – what the hell WAS I thinking? Because brown hair goes with everything and blue hair clashes with some outfits. Blue hair isn’t an accessory you can take off when you have an important business meeting or have a serious matter to discuss with someone and put on when you are going out for dinner with friends.
People who already knew me, knew the kind of person I was – that I love Jesus and being a mom. That I don’t sell drugs or steal and rarely lie (well – there was that time I couldn’t go to jury duty). But sometimes I would see someone who didn’t know me look at me and pass judgement. And sometimes, sadly, people who knew me did the same thing.
The second week I decided that I needed to own it…embrace it 100 percent or dye it back. Because you can’t walk around with bright blue hair and be all second-guessy. I needed to walk confidently and not apologize and probably stop calling myself crazy all the time.
I decided to embrace Joy for more than just a day.
Blue hair gave me permission to take risks. Not absurd risks. But get out of your rut kinda risks. After you dye your hair blue, ordering something different at a restaurant you always get the same thing at because you know you like it hardly seemed like a big deal at all.
And a funny thing happened after awhile. I forgot about it. And life kind of went on. I still struggled with helping my son with 8th grade Algebra and I worried about my weight and I dealt with anxiety. I worked and packed school lunches and went to book club.
Someone was staring at me in a doctor’s office last week and I thought maybe I had a booger on my face. It didn’t even occur to me that it might be my hair.
Here is my challenge to you.
- When you’re out and about – compliment someone. Tell a stranger you like their hair, or their dress or their boots…especially if you can tell they took a risk and put themselves out there. Receiving a compliment from a stranger is a pretty amazing thing.
- If a friend takes a risk – acknowledge it. You don’t have to like it, but tell them you admire their courage. Not saying anything…says something.
- If you want to try something new, do it. Don’t let fear of what other people think stop you from living your dream.
Disclaimer: Before I dyed my hair blue I asked my immediate family members (my kids and husband) if they were ok with it. I wanted them to be comfortable with me and any questions or ridicule they might get from friends (and they did). My daughter said, “Go for it – you only live once” and my teenage son shrugged his shoulders and said, “Do what makes you happy” and my husband told me…..
It’s just hair.
P.S. Yesterday I dyed my hair silver.
Thank you to all the professionals (especially Shannon, Hiliary and Carolyn) at Sheri Marie Salon who take good care of my hair and make me feel pretty.