|Dress (remixed 1, 2, 3, 4): Modcloth, Sweater (shop!): Gap|
This past October, I created a to-do list for my 26th year of life. It's filled with silly and serious dreams and goals, and one of them was to dye the ends of my hair purple. Because why not?
I dyed my hair tips red last year, and after it inevitably began to fade to a golden blonde I began to think about other fun colors I'd like to eventually try. Purple won out in the end. I loved the dark purple, but after a few weeks, it began to turn into this strange, mermaid-inspired teal green. I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't bothered by it. I was totally fine with the seaweed locks, and even found a kindred spirit (Elizabeth over at Delightfully Tacky) with teal hair in the blogosphere.
A week or two ago, though, I had a friend tell me that she really didn't like it. That it was probably time for it to go. It kind of took me back a little bit, because I somehow still manage to be surprised when people don't think the things I like are as awesome as I think they are (like my gold-capped molar, like my autographed Orlando Bloom headshot, like the Renaissance Festival...). Maybe I'm just super weird in a million different ways. But I reacted differently to the criticism this time around. I didn't shy back or try to people please or become embarrassed that something I like might be weird or nerdy or whatever else. I just said, "Oh, I like it!" and the conversation moved on.
It wasn't a particularly life-changing moment, but it did cause me to think a little bit. Why do I make the choices that I do, in style and otherwise? Who are they for? Because if they're for me, then I can proudly wear that green hair don't care vibe and be unashamed by my loud galaxy-print dress and my gold molar and my handcrafted dragon statue made by a woman dressed like an apothecary's wife. I've been told by many various people over the course of my life that I am weird. That I'm nerdy, or "homeschooled". I have never been able to figure out the reasons for saying those things in a hurtful way, especially when the words are spoken by friends. What are they hoping to gain? My embarrassment, an apology, a change of personality? Who knows.
I think it's really hard to be confident. I often find myself feeling out a group before voicing my opinions. Sometimes I even nod in agreement or change my answer based on the dialogue of others. Not about big things, of course, like God or Harry Potter. But the little things often slip away, out of cowardice and self doubt. I know I'm not the only one who does this, but it often leaves me feeling really frustrated with myself. Sometimes I'll blurt out the truth to my husband after we've been hanging out with friends, because it has been proven over the course of our relationship that he will love me in all things, to the bizarrest degree. I wish I could feel that strong all the time.
I chopped my hair off this week, and the whole evening I was trying to decide why I was doing it. Was it because I had already been thinking about it, because my hair was dry and brittle from the dye? Or was it because of that friend's comment? I'm not sure. Either way, I love the new haircut and it feels much happier and healthier. And perhaps it's the first step toward that dream of a pixie cut.
At the end of the day, I want what I do to be for me. Not in a selfish way, but in an intentional way. I wear the clothes that I do because I love the way I feel in them, and I love the creativity inherent in putting together unique combinations and in utilizing my clothes in new and unexpected ways. They're small but freeing choices that I'm proud of. I don't think there's any one secret to not caring what other people think - I think I'll always care. But I also think that I can practice confidence and claim joy. Those are worthy pursuits. So is Renaissance Festival pizza. Everyone else is just missing out.