I often wonder if other people walk around with a feeling of knowing…a comfort in their own skin, or just a general satisfaction with everything about their life at any given moment. I have never in my life experienced this feeling for longer than about five minutes at a time. Which, by the way, tends to be to be right after a good haircut or when I happen to choose a particularly good colour of chemicals to apply to my hair.
It seems reminiscent of restless leg syndrome, which may not even be a real affliction, but it explains how I feel about myself in the big wide world, as I am unable to sit still for longer than ten minutes, both literally and figuratively. My personality, taste and location change so quickly and so frequently I often find it hard to remember who and where I am when I wake up in the morning.
It began in High School when I had my first experience with the magic of permanent hair dye….actually…no…that’s a lie. It actually began in the years before that, in the latter end of primary school when I started wearing only black clothing for an extended period of time, which gave the teachers an excuse to more or less pick on me. Regardless, point is it began at a young and very impressionable age, and happens to be on of the few constant things throughout my life.
How remarkably easy it is to change how people view you upon introduction, solely concerning what you look like. It’s miraculous really. It feels so fantastic! So much power! I can see why newly divorced women and ‘suddenly single’ ladies flock to their devoted hairdressers for a drastically new ‘do’. To cut off the unpleasant past of their clients and allow them to start again is a magical power that the hairdresser covets.
And then there’s the teenagers…magical teenagers, invincible, impenetrable and socially stonewalled by the rest of the world, and have always been masters of the art of the identity crisis. They have been sharing their love of crazy and outlandish fashion, wonky locks, holes in their bodies, ink in their skin with their shocked and appalled families for decades now. It’s nothing new though, just healthy rebellion. My family, as well as myself on occasion, thought I would eventually, like all typical teenagers, grow out of it. But I was always the over-achiever…had to keep going. And now; two very permanent and slightly odd tattoos later, an overgrown piercing, umpteen different hair colours, cuts and styles as well as a varied and rotating wardrobe, I still cannot find a comfortable physical manifestation of how I feel on the inside.
Save perhaps one…
The saving grace of personal identity has ‘blessed’ me with a temporary uniform that will serve as appropriate to do battle with the rest of the world. The traditional black turtleneck and jeans. Simple, classy, comfortable, elegant and best of all despised by every fashion-forward member of my family. Or maybe they’re just sick of it. The black turtleneck may be the only tangible thing that is consistent in this crazy and changing world, my hair has definitely not been spared that’s for sure.
How do you know when you look like what you’re supposed to look like? (If that makes any sense at all..) Is all this change because I’m bored and have nothing better to do? Am I waiting for that moment when I know it’s “just right”, and know it’s the one, much like dating…yet I’m sure this theory doesn’t jive with that scenario either.
It is, on the other hand, rather convenient to be able to wow people with savant-like skills and recite what the exact date of an event was based secretly on my hair colour at the time. But I’m sure this is not why I end up with a cornucopia of personae walking around on the streets of time.
Here, let’s have a look back at the events and the thought process that went along with them.. (I suggest you skip this section if you’re in a hurry)
The beginning: Long blond “mom cut” hair. Followed by a short cut, more or less by accident…terrified parents.
Dyed brown for the first time. Made me surprisingly happy. Still remember going to a club meeting at the town hall the day I had it done and wowed group of friends. Eventually was introduced to the demon that is “re-growth”, hereafter known as “roots” which were the prettiest shade of light blond…that does not match brown….bugger.
Coloured it several various shades of red and burgundy over the next few years and let it grow. Having never before been a red-head I rather enjoyed this, it was edgy, sexy…red….very red…faded quickly, hard to get rid of …red….Holy balls I’m a ginger! Once realization set in, went dark-dark brown to hide shame.
Bleached top 3/4 of hair so darkness peeked out the bottom. Made for a very awesome up-do for prom that year!
Burgundy/brown again, grew quite long and got very dull after a few months.
Dyed black, cut short (little longer than a pixie cut) Ah yes, this is much better, harsh and awesome! …classy, (am surprised hair has not fallen out at this point)….hmmm…maybe too harsh?…makes me look really pale…am really pale. Then it began to grow….demon roots, after only two weeks, requires expensive up-keep.
Solution: Bleached a chunk in the front! Woo! Rogue hair just in time for X-Men (coincidence I swear). Look how cool I am! But can pass for classy if need be. Very wicked. Stuck with this for about a year (which is a very long time considering the rest all took place over three and a half…) The root problem was temporarily satiated…well… it was still there but not as obvious, much like disguising an ill-fitting pair of pants with a bright coloured sequin sensation on top….hmmm…re-think hair situation…
Bleached it blond again! all the way…several trips to the salon, many chemicals…hair still didn’t fall out…must be some manner of super-hero with power of hair preservation…
Over the next two years I experiment with different shades of blond, from dirty to light, and a number of lengths. I had a layered bob for a bit (which also provided a feeling of listless fancy, as well as a large shopping-induced credit card bill), it was also long and bouncy, medium length and wavy, and several levels of fringe were also cut in at different times to keep my hair fetish satisfied.
One day the fringe would just not satisfy, and I went out and bought a box of auburn, which apparently means red instead of the brown that the lady on the front looked like. So I was a ginger once again, or at least until I went out and bought a proper brown for the summer (because it’s clearly sensible to go brown for the summer as everyone else is lightening their hair), and then cut in another fringe.
The following fall I got expensive highlights for the first time, which lightened up the brown. I liked it, but it wasn’t in love with it, so I dumped it a few months later in favour of proper blond, which grew and grew and grew. I called it my “Taylor Swift Hair” It was thick, and blond and sorta wavy and took over an HOUR to dry with a blow dryer. That just wouldn’t do! Not at all! So…CHOP!
A blond bob! It was fun while it lasted but it grew out into the most awkward hair I’ve ever had. There were no layers…and I was stranded in the woods working and could not get a haircut…so it grew some more… into a shapeless, boring, blond, mid-length disaster. When I returned home to civilization, the first thing I did was get it cut and coloured (Another expensive endeavour) with highlights and lowlights. Several months later it was dark chocolate-brown again due to an impulsive trip to the drug store, and a craving for chocolate something. I then got bored and cut in side bangs, then a few weeks later made them into blunt straight long bangs, then a few weeks later I trimmed them to a mid length blunt fringe.
Still not completely satisfied, I just caved. At the hairdressers, I said “Fuck It…just cut it all off!” I didn’t wait it anymore…So that’s where I am right now. I am mildly amused with my current hair, which is great because it saves significantly on shampoo, I don’t have to spend an hour every day blow-drying it, and the short length hides the roots very well. Overall it was a good decision for both me and the needy environment. But my gentleman didn’t think so…not after I nearly gave him a heart attack. Said I looked like I could be his mother, I was thoroughly offended, but he has been known to be verbally incontinent occasionally. And it’s about time I started looking like the adult I am as opposed to a 12-year-old with a fringe and curls.
The end of historical recollection..
What I’m getting at here, after a rather long rant (my apologies) is not only providing you with evidence of an identity crisis-laden lifestyle, but sharing with you the idea that there are other people like me out there, who are constantly looking for something. These are people who feel their way through life, maybe not looking for something so much as feeling for something. Will they ever get it right? I can’t tell you because I haven’t found it yet either, I’ll be sure to let you know if I do. They’re not attention seekers, they’re not out to necessarily upset the social norm (But I did take a good crack at it with my brown summer locks! Muahaha) they’re just trying to figure out who they are and what they’re supposed to be, based on how other people treat them, (which happens to be based on the way they look). This all very much seems like complete madness, but as a poor young adult female looking for a job in this unemployed city, how you look has so much to do with whether or not someone want to pay you to be around all day, not looking like a child is hopefully a good thing for me, but I could be wrong…wouldn’t be the first time.
-Miss Hailey Jane