For reasons that I’m still trying to figure out, I dyed my hair in the currently trendy mermaid style. My colors of choice were blue and purple and my stylist threw in some teal highlights for good measure. Not including giving birth and getting married, I think I’ve learned more from this change in my life than I have from so many others.
During the three hour transformation, I worried with each layer if I was making the right choice. Each time my stylist reminded me that it was just hair and it could be changed if I didn’t like it.
The shock of seeing myself go from a dirty blonde to Joy from Inside Out was a bit more than I could take at first. I knew the transformation would be different, but I don’t think my brain fully dialed in to how different it would be. Seeing it in pictures on Pinterest is one thing. Doing it to your own head is another experience entirely.
Over the past month, I’ve learned a few things about myself that I would never have learned without this color changing experience. And once I was comfortable in my own skin again, without knowing it, I broke myself of my security blanket that is my Disney Cruise hat.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned this past month during my adventures in mermaid hair.
It’s not “just hair.” – When I would express my fear of people being unkind to me over my new style, the phrase uttered nine times out of ten times was “It’s just hair.” It didn’t take me long (a few hours actually) for me to hate that phrase and the untruth it stands for.
Your hair is attached to your head. You know… that thing most people look at first when they see you. A bad hair day can affect how you feel about yourself.
Yes, it can be changed. Yes, it can be covered with the right scarf or hat. But it’s more than “just hair.”
Color attracts different attention from different groups. – Depending on someone’s race, gender, and age, I received different reactions to my colors. It was interesting to see this the first few days when I was very self-conscious about who was staring at me and what their body language was saying about it.
My favorite compliment so far has been an older gentleman who came up and gently touched my arm to tell me about his wife’s short pixie cut and how he loved the colors in my hair. Little confidence boosters like this mean a lot to me since I’ve struggled with image issues since I was a child.
It’s a sign of strength. – I have lost count how many people have said I was strong and/or brave for doing this. Most have said they want to do it themselves but they are not brave enough to go through with it. The thing is that it takes one set of strengths to do it and another set of strengths entirely to walk out with it.
Can you say emotional roller coaster? – If you have anxiety or any insecurities about your looks, mermaid hair is an adjustment that is best described as an emotional rollercoaster. At times you will love it, then you might hate it, then you will not notice it, but in the end, it will be okay. Don’t brush off your feelings. Accept them as real and let them flow out of you.
Get a comfort accessory. – My first few times out I wore my black fedora that goes with everything. When I felt comfortable, I would take it off. It didn’t hide my hair entirely, but it helped keep people from staring.
My husband has said that next to building my clone trooper Denal costume, dying my hair has been the next best therapy for my anxiety. I took a leap and did something totally out of character and handled the stress of the attention well. It was a trial by fire kind of experience that I’m glad I’ve had.
Thinking about going mermaid? Stay tuned for my tips on how to keep your style brighter longer.