I Wish I Could Do My Life Like My Hair

Dark HairI got my hair cut and colored last week. No big thing. I try to go in every six weeks because by then my hair is getting shaggy and the color has faded from red to a copper. This last time, though, my stylist Tammy asked if we could do something different with the color.

She put in the red lowlights like always, but wanted to do something other than leaving the coppery remnants from the previous colorings. She asked my permission and I said sure. I’m always game to do something different with my hair.

Tammy mixed up the color, but didn’t tell me what it was. I didn’t ask. I just let it ride.

I was a little surprised when she washed it all out and it ended up being so dark, but I like it. I think it looks good. I can’t wait to see what happens when the color starts to fade.

I have this tendency to be quite cavalier with my hair. When I went from long to shoulder length in my late 20’s, I told the stylist to do whatever she wanted, just cut it off. Really. When I decided to get the pixie cut, I basically quit coming up with reasons not to and just said, “fuck it”. Every time I’ve colored my hair, it’s been with the idea of “let’s see what happens”. I’ve done it all with a spirit of adventure and an understanding that I could deal with the fallout later if I didn’t like it.

I just wish I could be so free-spirited in the rest of my life. Most of my decisions are made based on taking very little risk. It’s all about being practical and mature, very security-conscious. I’ve always been a rather conservative risk-taker in my life, but there have been times, most notably in my early 20’s, when I was just like, “Hey, whatever. Let’s ride. I’ll deal with any consequences later. I want to enjoy what’s going right now and see how far it can go.” And I’ve paid for it. And in ways I’m still paying for it.

But I’m also paying a heavier price for being so cautious, I think. It’s sort of puts a cramp in my life, living responsibilities first, always. It’s hard to have a good time being so hung up on being safe. I can’t just say “let it ride” anymore because I’m always too busy thinking about the next thing. Part of it has to do with the instability of my income and my overwhelming need to pay the bills. But part of it is because I’ve become very complacent in my 30’s and I don’t want to bust out with something rad because it might mess up my sleep schedule.

And that’s a drag.

I need to live my life more like I do my hair.

At least, maybe, a little bit.

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Change and a Haircut

Kiki's red hairNot to be too dramatic about it, but something significant happened after I got all of my hair cut off.

I changed the way I saw myself.

Okay, yeah, duh, of course I would. Having really short hair makes me look different than when I have semi-short hair that I can still pull back into a ponytail. It’s very different from the long hair I had years ago. But the difference I’m talking about goes deeper than just hair length.

The best way I can explain it is like this. I have two shelves that house some of my Cubs memorabilia. On one shelf is a picture of me taken with a friend and a player. Every time I look at that picture, I think to myself, “I’m not that person anymore.”

Of course not. That was two years ago. People change in two years. Hell, people can change in two days. But seeing myself in that picture with my old hairstyle, it’s a physical representation of how I have changed.

The person in that picture was kind of depressed, not very confident, constantly bombarded with negative thoughts. She was insecure, unsure, and feeling pretty weak.

I am not that person anymore.

Photo of a Bad Fan.

Okay, I can still be somewhat negative because I’m pessimistic by nature, but I’m not focusing that negativity on me. I’m using it more as a tool of realism instead. I’m more confident about who I am now, more willing not to feel bad about not living up to society’s ideals.

The girl in that picture gave a lot of lip service to an idea that she was a worthwhile human being just as she was and people needed to accept it because it was their hang-up, not hers, and she really wanted to believe that idea, but couldn’t quite make it.

I’m not that girl anymore. Now I believe what I say. I believe that idea.

Sometimes when I think of myself, see myself in my head, I picture myself with my old hairstyle and I have to correct myself. That girl I used to be didn’t disappear; she lingers. This me grew out of that me and I have no doubt that another version of me will grow out of the me I am now. I am an always evolving thing.

Obviously, the haircut didn’t start that.

It just reminds me of it.

I Colored My Hair

Kiki's red hairOkay, I didn’t color my hair myself, but I had it colored by my stylist. Yes, I have a stylist. I’m hip.
I used to color my hair often, as I’ve posted about before. But once I got my hair back to its original color some ten plus years ago, laziness set in. Though I thought about coloring my hair again, I remembered the upkeep it took and quickly dismissed taking that trip back down the rabbit hole. I also remember the damage I did to it coloring it so often. I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole either.

Besides, my natural color is actually quite nice and once my hair recovered from all of the damage I did to it, it only got better. Sure it’s only brown, but I’ve got some spiffy natural coppery sort of highlights in there. Hell, even the gray hair I have scattered about gives it a little something extra.

But recently I decided I wanted to put something extra in the extra.

I decided to get some chunky red lowlights put in.

I know, hardly something to blog about, but when you’re as lazy as I am, any sort of change like this is noteworthy. Besides, I feel like this is actually related to something a little bigger in my world, but this isn’t the post for that.

This is just the vanity post. See my new hair! See how pretty! See what I’ve committed myself to!

Okay, not much of a commitment since it won’t take much to grow it out and get rid of it.

But it’s still pretty.

I Don’t Cover My Gray

A jar of Manic Panic hair dye

I’ve had gray hair since I was 28. I know this because after one of my nieces spotted one the other two descended like buzzards on road kill and for fifteen minutes the three of them combed through my hair looking for more like monkeys grooming for bugs. The only found a few, but they were still there.

I suppose at 28 I should have been upset that I was already sprouting the signs of old age, but really it didn’t bug me. Until they were pointed out, I didn’t notice them. After they were pointed out, I still didn’t notice them, unless I looked for them.

I’ve accumulated more over the years, but they’re still singular, spread out here and there throughout my hair. They don’t seem to be forming any definable pattern, like a cool streak or a lightning bolt or a swirl. They’re just scattered there, like highlights.

I think that’s one of the reasons I like them (and I do like my gray hair). They are like highlights, for now. Just a little added pizzazz to my plain brown locks. Besides, I’m sure I’ve earned more than a few of them.

I know that a lot of my friends color their gray hair and good for them. They associate gray hair with looking old and they don’t want to look old (they also might have more gray hair than I do, I don’t know since they, ya know, color their hair). I can dig that. Who wants to look like a grandma when they’re still only a mom? But I already look older, so a little gray hair isn’t going to hurt me none. I’m also lazy. After spending a good part of my late teens and early 20’s coloring my hair a lot, I’m reluctant to take up the habit again. I know just how much upkeep that sort of thing requires and I just don’t feel like it right now, especially for such small flaw.

There might come a day when I change my mind. When the gray goes from highlights to full on color and I’m getting offered a senior citizen discount 15 years before I’m eligible (and I might just take them if I’m offered, you don’t know), I might decide to look a little more my age and break out the L’Oreal. Especially if the senior citizen discounts aren’t that great.

But for now I’m cool with letting my years shine.

If Everyone Is Saying It, It Must Be True

English: Most cosmetology and beauty school pr...

I was taught that when someone gave me a compliment I was to say “thank you” whether I agreed with them or not. Don’t argue, don’t protest, just say your thanks and move on. Manners and all that.

And that’s what I do. “You have such pretty eyes.” “Thanks.” “I love your skirt!” “Thanks.” “I like the way you verbally eviscerated that guy.” “Thanks.”

It’s become an automatic response to the point that I don’t really pay much attention to the compliment (unless it’s a truly unique one or backhanded or related to weight-loss because I don’t think saying, “Hey, you’ve lost weight!” is much of a compliment, but that’s another post). It’s not that I don’t appreciate people saying nice things to me on occasion; I enjoy that very much. But I just don’t read that much into it.

When I got my hair cut, I expected some people to notice because it was such a dramatic change. And I anticipated the reactions of a few people would be saying they liked my hair, whether they really did or not, as a way of acknowledging the drastic change in a nice way. In short, I didn’t pay too much attention at first when people said they liked my hair because it was the people that I expected to say something.

But then people I didn’t expect started saying the same thing. My hair attracted more attention than I thought it would. And I started to think…”Gee, maybe everyone does think my hair looks nice.”

At some point I’ve moved from “people being nice about my hair” to “this is the general consensus about my hair”.

Which is weird for me because I don’t typically think of people holding good opinions of me. I know I’m regarded as a failure by certain people and society thinks I’m a fat waste of DNA, and I’d be lying if I said those opinions didn’t impact me at least somewhat, but my opinion of myself is so high that it kind of minimizes the worth of those opinions.

So here I am, already thinking my hair looks freakin’ fabulous, and people are backing me up. It’s just strange. I’ve never had this sort of positive consensus before, particularly about a physical aspect of my being. I mean it’s nice, but it’s strange.

This is one of the few instances that I like going with the crowd, especially since for once they’re agreeing with me. If everyone is saying it, then it must be true. My hair looks good.

I could go mad with this sort of power.

But no. I like my head able to fit through doorways.

I Cut My Hair

Kiki Okay!I didn’t cut it myself, of course. I went to my stylist. I’m not completely crazy.

But I did feel a bit daring.

The last time I got my hair cut before this time, in the shab style I’d been rocking and loving for the most part, I didn’t have the top layers cut short enough. I spent most of the time with my hair pulled back into a pony tail.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that this was stupid. My hair was already somewhat short and yet I had it back in a pony tail all the time. If I was going to do that, I should  just cut it all off and call it good. It’d be the same thing.

Only it wasn’t exactly the same thing.

I’ve posted before about my hair and the hang-ups I have with. In short, I was afraid cutting my hair off in a pixie style would obliterate what little femininity that I think I project. A short cut on me would just add to my already somewhat intimidating demeanor.

Shorter short: I thought it’d make me less desirable, if that were even possible.

I thought, almost in jest, that I’d do the short cut when I was 40. Something to look forward to. Another way to shake-up a milestone birthday and make it fun. After all, by then who would care how short my hair was? When you’re 40 and a woman, you might as well be dead, at least that’s what I gather from society.

But a couple of weeks ago, I thought, why wait? Let’s just do it now and see what happens. Femininity be damned. I have boobs. That should be enough for people to know that I’m a girl, even though my youngest niece put my fears into words by saying that if I got my hair cut short, I’d look like a boy (she wasn’t convinced the boobs would be enough; honestly, neither was I).

You see, I’ve been in desperate need of a shake-up. I haven’t been feeling too peppy lately. In fact, I’ve been feeling downright blah, if you want to know the truth. Something had to give, something had to change. There’s very little in my life that I have the power to change right now. Too much of the changes I need require resources I just don’t have right now. But a revamp of my appearance. That I could afford.

I admit, I was more nervous the night before my hair appointment than I was the night before I had major surgery. I was more concerned with the negative outcomes of a haircut than I was the negative outcomes of a surgery, and considering those negative outcomes included death, I think that illustrates quite well just how vain I can be.

But it was more than just vanity. It was the excitement, the anticipation of doing something new, something different, of making a change. Things have been stuck in such a rut in my life that the idea of doing something as small as changing my hair style proved to be a huge mood booster.Kiki Okay Again!

It also ended up being quite the look booster, too. Turns out, the youngest niece doesn’t think I look like a boy (neither do I). She does, though, think I look like a completely different person.

I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think it turned out pretty well.

Don’t you?

 

The Many Hair Colors of Kiki

You saw my many faces, now you get to see my many colors.

In my early 20’s, I decided to break out of the norm and go wild. I needed to express myself and I did it through altering my appearance. I wore a lot of heavy make-up, mostly purple as it’s one of my favorite colors. Purple eyeshadow and purple lipstick were the norm (away from work; I didn’t wear make-up there). Black eye liner and black mascara. Sometimes I’d do glitter designs on my face. Before it was all done, I’d had my eyebrows pierced five times, including three times on the left side (the other two done on my right were done at two separate times because the first one ripped out) and had my nipple pierced (I’ve got a fun story about that, too, but some other time).

And then there was my hair. It was long then and I did a lot of things to it. I’d braid it in pig tails, braid it in tiny little braids and then put ribbons on the end, fashion spiky buns, give myself what one lady called “turkey feathers”, but mostly I wore it in a pony tail.

I was about 20 when I started coloring it. I eased into it, having a professional do it first, then I became the professional. I got really good at coloring my hair myself, bleaching it and then dying it with Manic Panic. I used gloves and a brush and ruined a couple of shirts and a bathroom rug. Sometimes my tub would be blue or purple or red for days. I dyed my friends’ hair. I became the go-t0 hair dye expert.

I worked at Wal-Mart at the time. A lot of customers would come in to see what color my hair was that day (I changed it every six weeks to two months). Only a few times did I get a negative comment. When our HR lady complained, my district manager gave me special permission to keep my hair any color I wanted. I don’t know if it was because I was good at my job or what, but I appreciated it.

Once I quite my job at Wal-Mart, the hair had to go back to normal so I could get a new job. I dyed it burgandy for a few months while I found and got a new job. Then I colored it with the goal of getting it back to my natural hair color. I’d wrecked my hair bad with all of the dying and bleaching and coloring and I wanted a break. That was over ten years ago. I haven’t colored my hair since.

So here are some (not all!) of my hair colors over that time period.

To get a feel for where I was and where I ended, this was my hair before I colored it. My natural color now is actually much darker and I love it.

This was my first color combo: black, purple, and blonde. The blonde and purple hues are very subtle as I had this professionally done and she didn’t get too wild.

I think this was my first go on my own. I ended up with blue, green, and black. Note the purple make-up and the glitter tears. I wasn’t kidding when I said I did that.

Red and black. I loved this combo. I also loved to wear my hair like this. And yes, I did wear this outfit out of my house to places like the mall and the movies. I still have the dress and the jacket.

I bleached my hair A LOT in between dying so the color would take better. I was never blonde for long, though, because I HATED being blonde. The longest I was ever blonde was a week and that’s because I had to have my hair a natural color because I was working at another store. Also, that’s my first rat I’m smooching, Zero. I’ve had a total of five of them.

This is what happens when you want to dye your hair, but don’t have enough dye to do one color. I used the leftovers. Not one of my favorite looks. It didn’t last long. You can also get a sense of how large my chest was. Pictures never really did it justice, though.

I loved the effect of this color combo with the blond bangs. It was really cool. But you can see the damage starting to take its toll on my hair.

Blue and purple. Another combo effect that I really liked with the blue bangs in contrast with the rest of my hair being purple.

My last wild color combo ever: pink, orange, and blonde. One of my co-workers called it Tequila Sunrise.

Hair colors not pictured: Purple and black; orange and yellow; pink and purple; blue and blonde.

I’m not going to lie when I saw I miss some of these hair colors and there are days when I wish I could dye my hair purple or red and black again. But looking back on that time I realize part of the reason why I did it. I was trying to find a way to be pretty. I knew then, with my wide ass and my huge, non-perky boobs and my extra weight that I had no chance to be conventionally pretty. But I still wanted to be pretty. So I made a different way to be pretty.

People have said that I did it for attention and you know, maybe I did a little. But my main goal was I wanted to be pretty, to feel pretty. I couldn’t compete with the little blonde things that men always drool over, but when my hair was green and my eyebrow was pierced, they couldn’t compete with me. I owned that look like they never could.

I was pretty on my own terms.

And I still am.