i dyed my hair blonde the other day and it’s silly but also big in a lot of ways. all throughout high school my hair was something i used to define myself. it was something i could hide behind and rely on to tell other people who i was. it’s always been a hallmark of my identity, whether i wanted it to be or not

in year 8 i cut sloppy bangs with the kitchen scissors because one of my friends did. it looked horrible and i ended up pinning them back anyway.

around year 9 and 10 i had long mousy hair that i always wore straightened or in a high bun.

half way through year 11 and half way through an identity crisis i cut off my waist length locks. they cut it unevenly and i spent the day crying, stressed, until mum took me to another salon to get it fixed. they didn’t cut it quite right though, and i spent the entire time not feeling like myself.

not long after, one of my friends got her hair cut the way i actually wanted mine. i felt so jealous every time i saw her but i didn’t do anything about it

at the start of year 12 my best friend’s mum sat me on a chair in their kitchen and cut my hair into the style i’d originally wanted it to be. i felt like me again. i didn’t think twice about how trivial it was, that some follicles on top of my head could have such powerful sway over my depersonalisation.

in year 12 i took a picture of myself everyday as i walked out the front door, always scrutinising the picture to see how my hair fell. if it didn’t look right, i wouldn’t feel right

once i graduated i let it grow out. my hair became something of an afterthought. once it got long enough i’d just throw it up into a messy bun atop my head and forget about it. bad hair days didn’t mean bad identity days anymore.

in my first year of uni i spoke a lot about things i wanted to do, without really doing any of them; get a tattoo, move out of home, dye my hair blonde, throw a big party. i spoke about these things but didn’t actually expect them to happen. they were just empty words.

my friend came over the other week so i could read her tarot, and we ended up booking the appointment. she filmed the call with my mum, “uhh just letting you know the next time you see me i’ll be blonde…..”

this year i moved out of home. i didn’t throw a big party and i haven’t (yet) gotten a tattoo. but the other day i dyed my hair blonde. it was one of those ‘fuck it’ moments. i told my friends that i’d been talking about doing this for so long, that if i didn’t do it now i probably never would

i wasn’t nervous until the day beforehand when i started stressing about whether or not i would like it, and other people would like it, and whether or not i’d feel more like my self, or less like my self. and whether the hairdresser would get the colour right, and whether the reference photo was really the colour i wanted, and this and that and…

when i saw myself in the mirror it didn’t look like me. but that didn’t mean it didn’t feel like me either. i still get surprised every time i pass my own reflection, but for once changing my hair hasn’t changed my sense of identity. it’s now something extrinsic to ‘me’.

a lot of people messaged me saying they loved my new hair, and it’s sweet but either way i don’t think i would’ve cared. i did it to prove to myself that i can put my words into actions. that i can change whatever the fuck i want about this body and it will still be my home

next up: rowdy 20th bday party and a constellation tattoo…

By em

a sometimes poet, sometimes painter, always philosopher


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