Vulnerability is violet, procrastination is blue, you use up all your color, and then what do you do?

The Faux-hawk phase lasted much longer than anticipated ūüôā Like, months longer. ¬†But once I started messing with colors, a very magical thing happened.

If you look closely at that purple, you’ll see it’s rather, um, bright. I happen to have a shirt the exact same unearthly hue, and believe it or not, the day after we dyed it I threw on my purple shirt. Without remembering my hair was purple.

 More than half-way through the busy Saturday, standing in front of my reflection at a paint store window, I looked up. My shirt matched my hair. Exactly matched my hair.

As embarrassing as that is, I want to point out the most important part of this story.
I FORGOT MY HAIR WAS PURPLE.
I went about my day, doing my things, not thinking about what I looked like. 

The next week I gave a Love and Logic presentation to fifty women in a MOPS group downtown. Not once while I was speaking did I think about how I looked while I was speaking. I felt my own spirit in that place, my own soul coming out unfettered by any insecurities. That’s magic.

The same thing happened with the blue, and though I got a lot of fun attention, and I loved the cool and funky ways the colors faded out, most of the time, all I felt was authentic. I was me. Really, really me. Does that sound like magic to you??
MAGIC AND FREEDOM!

Two full months of freedom.

Then I had to face the goal. The end goal has always been a buzz cut. I’ve been saying it all along. People have been reminding me of it all along. And when it came time, things came up. So I used up all my old color, and kept the faux for “just another couple weeks,” and more things came up. Some were legitimately good reasons to hold off buzzing. Some weren’t. Some made me think I wasn’t being true to the people who were waiting to see pictures. Some reasons made me think I wasn’t being true to myself.

I loved the purple faux-hawk. Really loved it. I could have stayed with it for years, but the point wasn’t to find the hairstyle I liked the most. The point was to challenge my looks. The point was to try something that scared me. The point was to do something to my hair that I knew would take years to grow out. And learn to love and accept myself in it, no matter how it looked.

So, one sunny morning on vacation in South Carolina, my bedhead and I braced ourselves.  I handed my loved ones the clippers. My daughters, my nephew, and my sister in law went to town.

And I came out renewed. No one has to agree with that statement. You don’t have to like it. You certainly don’t have to tell me I still look cute. I don’t care if I look cute. I did something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It scared the crap out of me, and I did it. There will be consequences. I’m already enjoying some of them. But I embraced the deed and all its consequences.

PEOPLE, I FEEL VERY PROUD.

Looks 7-9 – Faux-shizzle

People, I think I’ve arrived at the place this experience was meant to take me. INSECURITY.

Insecurity in the form of Faux Hawks.

 

Every time I glimpse myself in the mirror I pause to get my bearings. These styles are SO different. Once I saw my friend on the street and I stopped in my car to ask her a question. She answered in a strangely polite way.¬† I said, “Friend, it’s Rachel,” and then I nearly peed my pants laughing as the truth crept across her face. Classic. That happened so many more times. I still hear “I didn’t even recognize you!” almost every day.
 
 So, here they are as critics have named them. The three faux-hawks:

The Billy Idol (blonde shaggy)
 

 The Punk (turquoise-shorter-sides)
 

¬†and The-that’s-better-than-the-turquoise (Titanium short faux)
 

Not everyone liked the styles. There was a time when someone literally could not look at me. She turned her head and told me she didn’t like my hair. I laughed a little and cried a little inside that day. Another time a lady I barely knew went out of her way to tell me how much she doesn’t like it, or get it, and then offered various reasons why she wasn’t the right person to like my hairstyle. I frequently held my tongue.

Also, when I had the turquoise faux-hawk, I experienced awkward staring for the first time in my life. I mean, even when I was in the Netherlands wearing a name tag, long skirts, and a helmet astride a bike I wasn’t stared at like I was one night with The Punk. Usually you don’t notice when people look at you, but that night at a wedding reception, everywhere I looked I met someone’s eyes. It was bizarre. I think they might have been confused because I was holding hands with a very responsible looking man, but I could be wrong. Which brings me to my next point.

Stereotypes. They’re for real.

When I’m out with my girlfriends, people assume we’re lesbians. I’m not just guessing about this. They say stuff. Not rude stuff; most of the time people are warm and accepting, but it’s funny how a haircut can change what others assume about your life.


I can’t say I feel super about myself everyday with this style, but there are moments I feel so cool I grin like a kid. I mean, I have a blue faux-hawk! I don’t have many more things to try before the end of phase one and the beginning of phase two, and I’m not going to lie. I’m really scared. So far, though, the experience has been so overwhelmingly positive, so fascinating and perception-altering that I’m excited to see it through. I’m excited to see “me” in all this. I am learning to recognize shallowness in myself and little by little, begin to let it go.





Phase 1: Look 6 Just a little bit of Pixie dust

¬†It’s officially the beginning of the end of Phase One.
I’m calling it the long-shaggy-pixie. You can call it whatever you want.

¬†This hairstyle worried Rachel the most. She actually lost sleep over it. I had complete faith in her, though. I also had zero understanding of the color chemistry involved in this kind of transformation. The answer was: several applications, blistered hands (hers), a singed scalp (mine), and several real prayers begging that my hair follicles wouldn’t give up and let go.

 During the two-day process, I had the privilege of channeling my inner Shaneequa, Carol Brady, and Donald Trump. We were quite afraid, actually.

But the most terrifying times were made fantastic by my support group. They laughed at the right moments, squealed at the right moments, and basically made all the moments feel like the important experience this was meant to be.
L-R: Jenny, Me, and Rachel. 
Steff wasn’t there day 2, but she was there for the scary day1!

And, Rach has outdone herself. We ended up with a style I’d NEVER have tried before. It’s so foreign, and so fun. There are latent pastel highlights hanging on from the pink, purple, and blue past styles. I kind of love them. The only downside to this do, really, is that now no one in my neighborhood waves back to me. I still drive the same car, but apparently, a good portion of people recognize us based on our hairstyle.

 

I don’t feel as naked as I thought I’d feel. I don’t feel as elderly as I thought I’d feel. But I don’t feel same-old-me, either. This one is definitely different. This will probably be the only few weeks I’m blonde in my whole life, and it’s exciting! I can’t believe it took me so long to allow myself this experience. It’s been one of the most important of my life.

Phase 1: Look 5

It finally happened. I can officially say I did NOT like a style on me. I guess we all knew it would happen at some point. So here’s look #5.

¬†There’s nothing wrong with it. It was exactly what I asked for. Chin length, stacked in the back, red with caramel highlights. And as soon as it was done I knew.

 

Nope. Definitely not me.

The color’s not bad, the cut was, of course, expertly executed. But for some reason, it didn’t resonate at all with my idea of me. It felt like someone else’s hair on my head. Crazy, right? Especially since it wasn’t that different from look 4. Also, I should have felt that with all of the looks so far. None of them were me.

Except they totally were.

I’m sure there’s some deep psychological reason for it, but I’m not even going to try to find out what it is. All I need to know is that one didn’t work for me. I kept it for whopping ten days, and then we moved on.

To the pixies. Blonde ones.

Who’s ready??




Phase 1: Look 4

I’ve been putting off writing this post.
¬†I think it’s because I don’t have anything profound to say. I’m sitting here thinking, and still I can’t think of a thing to tell you.¬† Really. The chick who can talk for two hours without skipping a beat has nothing to say.
No life lessons. No profound insights. No earth shattering discoveries.
The cut and style are fantastic. The look is easy, versatile, and it’s red. I love all those things. I’d prepared myself to feel vulnerable and freaked out this time, but, I’m good. I’m not scared of the styles anymore. Any of them.
¬†Maybe it’s because I’m doing it. The anticipation of trying all the hairstyles is over, and fear is no longer a formidable obstacle. Short hair isn’t a spooky whisper in a dark and empty house.
¬†My neck isn’t even that cold. Plus I have scarves. And one by one, my flimsy reasons for never trying short hairstyles fall to the ground with every snip of Rachel’s scissors. Maybe it’s because I’m finally allowing myself to have an experience I should have allowed my whole life.

¬†Or maybe it’s because I know that no matter what these styles look like on me, they are not ME.¬†
I’m me. And I’m awesome.

I’m about to ask you to do something hard, but I don’t care. I want you to tell me the thing you love most about yourself. What makes you awesome? I want you to write it because I want¬† to hear you own it. Most likely, we’re all aware of it, but I want to hear you say it. You don’t have to post it publicly on this blog, you can email, text, or message me. Who’s in??

Phase 1 Look 3.5 – Define Extreme….

Above:  Look 3.5 as described by my girls.
Below: Look 3.5 as described by my phone’s camera.
 
¬†No, that is not hot pink hair chalk. Also, if you’ve ever wondered how to get colors this vivid into your hair, ask us. Rachel figured it out. It’s easier than you think, but requires a certain amount of shame elimination. We’re talking wearing foils at the post office, foils at the school, foils while you purchase new underwear, foils while you take a picture with famous people (Of all the days to see my kids’ heroes) But then you get to look as cool as this at your cub den meeting:

Totally worth it.

Here is the lesson I took away from Look 3.5:
I told Rachel that from this point on, she’d probably see the whinier, more insecure side of me, because after this style, I’ll be terrified of every hairdo we try. This length is officially the last comfort zone I have. All the shorter styles coming are the “extreme” ones. She looked at the magenta, radiant orchid, and cyan dye bowls she’d been mixing, and laughed. Hard. Then she said, “Everything you’ve done so far is extreme to someone.”

She’s the smartest, again. Every change we make in life can be viewed as extreme, either because of the time spent in a certain state before changing, or because of the distance from point A to the change. Everyone has their own scale on which to define “extreme.”

I’m getting stares, I’ll admit it. Most kids think I’m the coolest, and their parents refrain from commenting.:-) But, I’m also losing some preconceived ideas about people now that I’m the person with pink hair. Who am I to decide what’s stylish for others? My little measuring stick can’t apply to someone else because they have a different stick, and their point of view is as valid as mine. Even when the points of view are at odds. No, especially when they’re at odds.¬† I’ll really need to keep this in mind as I jump into Look 4, because I’ll be dying to judge myself. Let’s hope I don’t. Valuable philosophical lessons can occur when we embrace changes. Especially the extreme ones.

What kinds of “extreme” things have you thought about trying? Inspire us with your ideas. I promise not to be offended if none of you say pink highlights.

Look 3: The color of fear

 Can we take a second and talk about our fears?

¬†(Rachel’s hands after look three. Do you feel scared?)

I watched a documentary on Joan of Arc last night.¬† I can’t stop thinking about her. Did you know the people who knew her before she became The Maid described her as ordinary? I don’t know how many times I heard that word last night during the show. They called her that over and over again. Extremely ordinary.

Then, bam. She led the armies of the prince of France to lift the siege on Orleans, and then safely escorted the prince to be crowned in a city deep in enemy territory. She was a teenager. An ordinary one. So what was the difference? How did plain old Joan become Joan of Arc?

One thing she had going for her was an absolute confidence in her mission. Conviction. Faith. She knew she was meant to do something with her time on earth, and she allowed it to grow bigger than her fears. She pulled a Pink, threw some glitter in the air, looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care.”

Sometimes I feel like we’ve got our fear/faith balance backwards. Because let’s be honest, in our closet full of dreams the only lock holding those things prisoner is fear. It can manifest in several different ways: Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of pain, fear of inconvenience, fear of the unknown. But it all amounts to the same thing. Fear is forcing ordinary people to avoid doing extraordinary things.

The other thing is, she worked toward her dream every day. She didn’t sit and wait for God to make her dream a reality. She knew much was expected of her if her mission was to be fulfilled. She thought about it and worked toward it. She was undeterred.

I’m not saying this hair thing is Joan of Arc territory, it’s not even close, but through it I’m learning something Joan of Arc somehow knew as a kid. Fear isn’t a good enough reason to abandon our dreams, no matter how large or how small.

¬†What if my face shape is wrong for that cut? What if my skin tone doesn’t look good with that color? What if no one hires me once I get my photography thing up and running? What if my neighbors talk behind my back when I start up my in-home business? What if I lose money on that investment? What if my husband hates that sweater on me? What if my friend says “no” to my invitation? What if, what if, what if. Well, screw that.

Our lives are short. Real short. And that’s even if we have a typical human lifespan. Do you want anything holding you back from experiencing all you can while you’re here? I’m not talking about abandoning responsibility and living some giant, selfish rager. I’m talking about working toward the things you want to accomplish and try while you’re here. Examine what’s holding you back. If it’s fear, stick up those middle fingers and press on, warrior.

So here’s to look 3. This one scared me the most so far, and therefore, it’s with great satisfaction that I present it to you. Color: black with an all-over blue (Billyrock blue from Manic Panic). Cut: thick, straight bangs, lots of layers and an inch or two shorter than look 2.

Discussion time: I’m hearing some tales of adventurous haircuts. If you’re experimenting in any way along with me, will you email your pictures to me and allow me to share them on this blog?¬† Pretty please??