Color Me Happy

Julia - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on November 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in hair dye. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. I do not believe in the dye itself, but rather, in the power of knowing that I do not need hair dye to express myself or to be recognized as different. The journey to this realization has shaped some of the views I carry today.

When I was younger, around my sophomore and junior years of high school, I wanted nothing more than to let everyone around me know that I wasn’t the conventional girl. I was not the type of person who followed trends and acted the same as those around me, and I craved the ability to show everyone that I was a true individual. I was in what my parents referred to as my “rebellious stage.” I began dying my hair excessively and eccentrically; at one point, I was dying at least once every month. It wasn’t normal colors, either. In that span of two years, I had red, purple, black, blonde with red, blue, and even completely white bleached hair. Towards the end of my junior year, however, when my hair was starting to fall out and I was still feeling boring, I realized something. I realized that no matter how many times I dyed my hair, I was still the same person on the inside. It realized that I was still stifling my real self. I came to know that no many how many times I dyed my hair it wouldn’t make me any more individual because of my fear to express my inner self. I shed my crazy hair colors for a more natural brown, and instead, started to portray my inner individuality. The results came almost instantly. Many people did not accept me for who I was, and although I lost a great deal of friends when I revealed who I was, I felt totally vindicated. I could finally be myself.

I still dye my hair today, but now I do it because I like the way it looks instead of because I want to prove myself to other people. I am now attending a college where I am encouraged to express myself as I am and accepted for it.