I have faced this decision a thousand times, and it's usually a struggle. Tomorrow morning, I face it again. Sigh...
I was a tow headed kid whose hair got dishwater blonde as I got older. Wanting to keep the "bright," I started highlighting my hair, but it started so long ago that I can't even remember when the first foils went in. Those "highlights" got heavier and heavier over the years, and at one time, I was almost a total bleach blonde. During these same few years, I engaged in anorexic behaviors, feared nearly everything in life, and I didn't love myself at all. All of that took a toll on my hair. I see photos of myself from that time, and I think, "ACK!" Exhibit A is right below. (Don't let the smile fool you.)
Still... I have to decide what to do tomorrow. And I talk with you all about not letting fear take over, but I still struggle with it at times, too. And this dye decision is one of those times. Seems silly, right? I mean, it's "just hair." (Boy, have I heard that one a few times over the years.) Well, it's not "just about hair" for me. In many ways, it's wrapped up in some deeply rooted fears. 😏 And I suspect some of you understand and maybe even feel this way too.
More on that in a minute.
But first, I'll share a little more of my hair "background" to help explain my "issues" making this decision. So during that bleach blonde phase, more stress set in... I went to grad school, my migraines kicked into overdrive, I was taking lots of meds to manage them, and with everything else in life at the time, that bleach blonde mop took a huge turn for the worst. A lot of it fell out and what was left turned to straw. Bad nutrition, no exercise, medication, lots of body abusive behaviors... And oh my gosh, my hair and I were both in bad shape.
Thank goodness, shortly after someone took that photo on the left (in that "sexy" cat suit -ha!), I met a wonderful stylist. She was really more like a therapist, who became a best friend. And she got us - my hair and me - back on track. At least I felt somewhat better, and she got my hair healthy again. Doesn't it look a lot better on the right?!
So why do I still fear the dye decision? Well, it's multi-layered. (See how I added that hair humor? 💇)...
I guess on the surface, I'm afraid that if I do something different, it will look like crap. Ok... so that's vain, but it's true. I don't want "ugly hair." I've tried to go darker twice and both time, I didn't think it looked natural. (See the photo at the time?!) And once it didn't even "take." Each time I washed it, the dark ran out in the water. Within a week or two, it had drastically faded to a flat, mousey brown. No shine, no depth, just BLAH and ugly! So there's that.
At this time of year, I also worry that I'll regret going darker. I mean, the summer sun is coming. And that's when I typically go a little LIGHTER. Is this overcast, gloomier time of year making me think "dark" right now? I don't want to regret my choice when it's 95 degrees outside. At this time of year in the past, I've decided to stay light "now" and then "go darker next fall." And that sounds like a good plan, but I never do it, so I don't want that to be how I make the decision this time.
And still thinking on the surface here...
I worry about how darker hair will look with my skin. I've asked colorists this question many, many times, and they just say I can do "whatever." Uh... I think it's a valid question with a definite answer: "What the hell hair color would look best with my skin?" Light, dark, in between? I'd really like to know so I can make a better choice.
Finally, I ALWAYS take photos of what I want when I go for my appointment. And to tell you the truth, my new color job never comes out like the photo. Don't get me wrong. Most often, I LIKE what I get, but it's not like the picture. My good friend (who does hair) tells me I'm just too picky. Maybe I am... but it still makes me hesitant to ask for something other than what I already have. Too much room to screw it up, ya know?!
Ok, so all of those things are issues for me, but if I'm honest, there are fears that run deeper than any of that...
I have been some shade of blonde for my whole life. Friends and colleagues know me that way. I've been referred as "a blonde" - in both negative and positive ways. You know what I mean... I've gotten attitude about being blonde. Like when I've been told that I got "that job" or "that grade" because I'm "pretty and blonde." Whatevs... I bust my ass, and I've got brains too, and I know it. So it doesn't bother me when that happens. In fact, I probably embrace that I break the stereotype. #rebel
Here's a biggie... My husband fell in love with a blonde. I know - you're thinking that he fell in love with ME, and I get that. But he was attracted to a blonde and even though he tells me to do what I want, I still know he likes the blonde (probably a lot). And yes, that matters.
And another big one...
I also fear that I think of MYSELF a certain way as a blonde or BECAUSE I'm blonde. I mean, maybe it's part of my (self) identity. Is that possible? I mean, is being blonde somehow connected to WHO I am? It shouldn't be, should it? But that's a scary thing to contemplate.
For me (and I suspect for a lot of women), this is mostly about change...
My life has changed a lot in the last year and a half. We moved, my kiddo went to college, we became "empty nesters," and I got a new (more stressful) job where there's a whole new work culture. That's a lot of change and a lot of adjustment in a short time.
I'm also inching toward 50, I've gotten healthy and fit, and I've started my own business...
So I have changed A LOT on the inside and out, and that's made me think more about these these kinds of decisions and what they really mean. Maybe it is "just hair" - it can be colored again. But it's okay for us to think deeply about who we are and what our appearance means or says. As long as we stay connected to what's important... our values, how we treat others, and appreciating what we have.
I may not make up my mind until I sit in that chair tomorrow. And I may stick with the blonde because it's "comfortable" and what I know. But I'm a whole lot closer to being a better me now than ever before... no matter what color my hair. I hope you are to. :)
As always... thank you for being here and for reading!!!
P.S. I'd really like your thoughts and vote on the hair color too. LOL!
Hi, I'm Lori!
I'm a wife, mom, grandma, former college professor and VP, turned weight loss and fitness professional passionate about helping busy, professional women lose weight and manage burnout levels of stress, so you live comfortable and confident in your own skin - and never diet again.