Reinventing myself every month got old. And all the color changes were hard on my hair. Going from light to dark was not big deal,
but back the other way had consequences I didn’t like dealing with.
It was time to pick a hair color and stick with it.
I pulled out a bunch of old pictures and spread them all over the floor. I became an anthropologist, like Dr. Brennan on Bones. I was looking for what each hair color said about the culture of me.
Blonde. I had to admit I was cute in those pictures. I was always smiling and having fun. But it was also about trying to be something, someone I wasn’t. I was always trying to prove myself. To be blonde enough.
And after the hair dresser said the word “breakage” I knew I couldn’t go back to bleaching. A few highlights here and there, but no more blonde.
The red-head pictures are few. Probably because there were only so many things I could wear that looked good with the hair. No pink, no red. And no purple eye makeup. So clearly, red wasn’t the hair color for me.
I spent a few years at medium, mousey brown. But the pictures screamed BORING. I blended into the background and always looked washed out. At the time I thought natural was the best, and I tried to match my hair to my eyebrows. Talk about lame. Eyebrow is not a color.
The truth was I looked happy in all of the pictures. And they all looked like me, just different versions. Maybe I didn’t have to find the “right” hair color. I just had to do what I wanted at that moment.
I know what I like. I like extreme. Contrast. If I couldn’t go blonde without losing my hair, the other extreme was dark. So, I bought a box of dark brown at the beauty supply store and dyed my hair in the bathroom at home.
And I liked it.
The next day a friend saw me and said, “This hair color is the best. It’s you.”
I told her that I agree. It is me. At least for now.
Has anyone had the same hair color for a long time?
Do you define yourself by your hair color? Have you found a style or color that is the most you?
Everybody poops. We all know it. There’s even a book about it to make kids more comfortable with their bodily functions.
Somehow that doesn’t make us feel any better when we have to deal with the consequences in public.
What do we do when we have digestive issues, a.k.a. diarrhea? We drive ten minutes out of our way to the Rite-Aid where we don’t know anyone. And we fill up the cart with things to take our minds off the Imodium. People magazine with the latest celebrity divorce, blue mascara, sunscreen and shampoo for color treated hair. We choose the line with the female cashier, even if it’s longer. And we pretend we don’t hear the college kid when he says he can help us in the next line. Who me? I’m too into People to pay attention.
At the register we don’t make eye contact with the woman, but we make sure to ask her if she’s tried a colored mascara. And what does she think about Brangelia? We really must know.
Sometimes none of the strategies are available.
Not that many women work at Home Depot. And no matter what else you put in the basket, the plunger sticks out. It pokes into other shoppers as you try to fast walk to the checkout lines without anyone noticing. But they do. They look at you and they know.
The self checkout will be out of service or the plunger won’t be tagged properly. You know you’re lucky if they don’t have to call over the intercom for a price check on the Super Heavy Duty Plunger. Yeah, that’s the one you need.
No matter how cute your track suit or how sweet smelling your perfume, they know there is only one reason you’re buying a plunger on a Saturday afternoon. You dropped a big one.
It’s true, everybody poops. But, nobody wants to admit it. Especially not in public.
Have you ever been embarrassed in public? What are your strategies for bodily-function shopping? Anybody just put it out there and not turn red?
It is Fun Friday again! There were a lot of great posts out there this week, but I was able to narrow it down to my top three. I
hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Lessons From Teachers and Twits had a hilarious conversation with her adolescent son about sex, and then posted it on Facebook. For advice, of course.
Jennette Marie Powell separates truth from myth about the first Thanksgiving, and throws in a little modern history of her own. I felt both smart and entertained when I was done reading. That’s a good combo.
Ramblings and Rumblings had something to say about Bradley Cooper being named The Sexiest Man Alive. I agree that he is too much of a douche to be sexy, but my favorite part had to be the Ryan Gosling fans protesting outside of People Magazine. There’s a video. I laughed so hard I actually drooled.
Have a great weekend!
If you read Part 1, you know that I was obsessed with being blonde, no matter how much it cost. But after college graduation and starting my first real job, I decided it was time to figure out who I really was.
I didn’t know myself. At all. What I liked, wore,
listened to, and did were the things I had always done. I hadn’t changed much since I was seven, except the pink flannel pajamas got bigger.
We all have that moment where we wonder who we are and what we want. All I knew was I wanted different.
So I went to the beauty school and told them I wanted to go dark. No specific color or shade, I just wanted a change. The girl picked a dark reddish brown, the same as Jennifer Love Hewitt, she said. Whatever. At least it wasn’t like me.
When she was done, I looked in the mirror and saw something different. Someone different. Me as I had always known her was gone. Unrecognizable. I liked it.
After a few months of dark hair, I went back to the beauty school. I was bored. Again. So I went red.
Change became my thing. I switched my hair color more often than most people changed their shoes. I was every color of brown and red imaginable, and even threw some blonde back in at times. The length and style varied with the colors from long and straight to short and spiky.
As soon as people were used to me with a certain hair color, it was time to change.
There was such freedom in keeping people guessing. I could walk up to a guy I used to date and he wouldn’t know me at all. It was like I was undercover, untouchable. The gingerbread man.
Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me. I’ll change my hair again.
It turned out, what I liked was being different. Mysterious. Keeping people on their toes. It wasn’t the hair color or the reflection in the mirror that made me smile. It was the wide eyes and “Wow” of other people. Maybe I wasn’t really trying to find myself. It felt more like hiding.
Was it really that different from being blonde?
Have you ever tried to find yourself through hair color? What do you think it says about who we are? Any other hair-color-whores out there?
I am not going to lie. I have always been an extremist. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way. Go hard or go home.
Some people like to claim that is perfectionism. I think it actually comes from my natural state of laziness. If I’m not willing to put in 100% effort, I’ll just skip it. It gets me out of a lot of things.
But, lately it’s also kept me from being my best self.
I would go to the gym for two, maybe three days, and work out hard. I have always believed that if I wasn’t dripping with sweat and ready to lie down, right there on the ground and die, that I hadn’t really worked out. And, yes, I judged everyone else that way, too. In my mind there were a lot of people wasting their time at the gym. Reading while doing cardio?
But then, I’d get sick. A cold or the flu would knock me out and leave me on the couch under a quilt watching HGTV. Even if I was strong enough to go to work, I didn’t make it to the gym. I didn’t have enough energy for a “real” workout, so why bother. The cycle of three days on, ten days off became a pattern.
Not a good thing.
It was the same thing with my hair and make-up. I am kind of obsessed with eye make-up. Since my first trip to the MAC counter in high school, I have been a junkie. It takes at least four colors and five brushes for a look I think is fun. I’ve been known, and teased for, wearing orange eye shadow to make my eyes look bluer or considering purple a neutral color. I don’t care what people say, I love it.
But straightening my hair and wearing make-up every day for work began to drag me down. I tried the whole, low maintenance make-up thing. BORING. I don’t want to spend ten minutes to look like I’m not wearing make-up. I can do that instantly. The drag became so bad that I stopped looking forward to getting dressed up on the weekends. I put my flat iron at the back of the cupboard and ditched the make-up for velour track suits.
I couldn’t go on like this forever.
I’d heard people talk about balance and inner peace before. I even tried yoga a couple of times. But spending thirty-five dollars to stretch and take a nap didn’t bring me peace. It just made me think about how many lattes that thirty five dollars would’ve bought.
Then I complained to my chiropractor about being too tired for exercise. She told me that moderation is important and over-training is bad. Then she said something I didn’t totally understand about heating up your inner temperature being the important part of exercise.
As I lay with my face poking through the hole in the table, trying not to drool on the carpet, something clicked. It was that word.
Maybe I could try moderation in a few areas of my life.
The next day I went to the gym. I did some upper body weights and got on an elliptical machine. I didn’t do intervals, and I didn’t crank it all the way up. My body warmed up and I did sweat, just not as much as usual. And I noticed something different when I got home.
I actually had energy. More energy than before the gym. So, this was what people were talking about. Maybe exercise can give you energy.
The next morning I got in the shower a little later than normal. More time for me. I left the blow dryer and the flat iron in the cupboard. I used some mousse, scrunched, and let it air-dry. Maybe wavy hair wasn’t the most horrible thing in the world. And to make it even better, I found my own version of moderate make-up: mascara and lip gloss. It took less than a minute.
And you know what I discovered that day? No one freaked out, asked why I wasn’t wearing make-up, or what happened to my hair. The only people who noticed had good things to say. And the best part was I discovered that I like myself exactly as I am, wavy hair and all.
That weekend I did my hair and make-up because I wanted to. And it was fun.
How do you find moderation in your life? Are you an extremist or naturally balanced?
Twilight. Say the world and the entire world knows
what you are talking about. It’s not that time right when the sun goes down anymore. Now it’s that movie with the vampires and werewolves. And the girl named Bella.
I’ve seen all the movies and I’ll go see the new one, too, just not right away. I do like vampires and werewolves. I read Anne Rice in high school and I own the entire series of Buffy.
The first two Twilight movies were fun. It was an adventure and the legend about the werewolves was very cool. And the vampire dad is hot, but that’s a different post.
But during the third movie I began to notice something disturbing: Bella is really lame.
I tried to overlook the choosing between two bad boyfriends and the whole damsel in distress thing. She doesn’t have any special powers. She’s not a vampire, a werewolf, or a slayer. Really, what could she do in a fight?
I’ve read other critiques of her character. Like the quote by Stephen King about how Twilight is really just about having a boyfriend. Or this post about why Buffy is so much better. They are both right. But, I can let go of those things for the sake of entertainment.
Most high school girls want a boyfriend, right? And it’s romantic when she is saved by one guy or the other. When you boil it down Twilight is really about liking two bad boys and choosing which one to date.
That is kind of high school.
I had this entertainment-only, la-di-da attitude recently when the movies came on cable. One of my BFF’s and I decided to half watch while we gabbed and played with her baby. And that’s when it hit me. Even with all the vampire and werewolf and high school stuff taken out, Bella still sucks.
Sure, she doesn’t know her dad all that well and her mom got re-married, but she is so callous and unattached to her family that she is willing to run away with any guy she talks to. The guy says it’s complicated, she says let’s run away together. Great role model for the young women of the world.
Let’s look at the rest of her life. Friends? Not really. There’s the one girl who she doesn’t seem to really like, whose almost boyfriend she keeps stealing, and then dumping. There’s Edward’s sister, but she only became friends with her to get to him. Hardly counts.
Hobbies? None, unless you count collecting boyfriends. Sports? Just running from vampires. Oh, wait. She doesn’t even do that. She stands there and shivers.
Interests? Talents? The girl doesn’t even like shopping. If she were a real high school girl her Facebook profile would have nothing on it except, In a relationship with _______. She would only have one picture in the yearbook, if that.
She reminds me of the life-sized cardboard image of the former governor that my parents keep in the garage. They bring him out every once in a while and hang seasonal decorations from him. But if it’s too heavy, he tips over face first. One-dimensional, just like Bella.
It’s ok to have a boyfriend, and it’s even ok to go for the bad boy sometimes. All women have to go through that stage and learn for themselves. But every girl and woman needs to have a life. Needs to be a complete person on her own. Not some one-dimensional card board cut-out that needs a man to keep her upright.
I have a Bella in my life and I sure don’t want her to be anything like the Twilight Bella. Luckily, at two years old, she is already stronger and more independant than the girl in the mvie.
What do you think about Bella? Would you want your daughter looking up to her?
My mother is one of those rare women who are
naturally blond, so it was lucky that I was born blond, too.
And it lasted for a few good years.
But somewhere in elementary school, that all
changed. My dad’s DNA kicked in and my hair went dark. It wasn’t that big of a deal, compared to the pink stirrup pants that made me look like a piglet in third grade and the spinach in my teeth in my fifth-grade school picture.
In sixth grade I got my first professional highlights as a birthday present. My dull brown hair went bright and blond. The reflection in the mirror looked like the girls in the magazines and on TV, a least a little. I was hooked.
I started asking for highlights for every available holiday. All I wanted for Christmas was to be blond. And beautiful. The two things became interchangeable for me.
A regular babysitting job in high school gave me the income to up my trips to the salon. Every other month I spent everything I had to stay blond.
It was my dirty little secret.
Everyone I knew assumed I was naturally blond, like my mother. They reinforced my blond obsession every time they told me how lucky I was to have such pretty hair.
Blonds really did have more fun.
Somewhere along the way obsession became an addiction. In college I was at the salon at least once a month, if not more. I went lighter and the highlights turned into all over platinum.
My greatest fear wasn’t death or failing a class, it was someone discovering I wasn’t a natural blond.
All of my self-worth and happiness was wrapped up in my hair color. Attention from guys, free drinks, even the sweet older ladies who called me Honey. I attributed it
all to being blond, naturally.
Without blond hair, I was nothing.
How important is hair color to our self-worth? Do you identify yourself based on your hair? Is anyone else currently, or ever been, obsessed with being blond?
There’s always been a good reason to go to the
movies: the hot guys. I’m ok with Hollywood being full of beautiful people. It gives us something nice to look at, even if a movie is bad. Starring Josh Duhmel? Enough said. I don’t need to know the plot, it’s worth seeing.
Josh Duhmel and Tyrese Gibson in the same movie?
Yeah, I saw Transformers. All three of them. It wasn’t because I like robots.
But something strange has been happening lately. The hot guy role has been shifting. To the dad.
When I took my adolescent mentee to see the last Twilight movie, she asked me if I would pick Edward or Jacob. And I had to be honest. So I picked the dad. The vampire dad, not the guy with the mustache.
Sure, in the movie he’s kind of pasty and blond, but he was a vampire. He was still hot. See him in real life, and you’ll agree with me.
I thought it was just one case, and he’s probably a lot younger than he’s supposed to be. I mean, they weren’t really his kids.
But then the new fall TV season started.
One word: Suburgatory. A sitcom about a single dad and his teenage daughter who move from New York City to the suburbs in New Jersey. Sounded good to me. Did I mention that it’s about a TEENAGER and her DAD? Nothing about the premise says hot guy. I watch Modern Family, I know what TV dads look like.
I turned on the TV prepared to laugh. Instead, I almost choked on my ice cream. The dad was tall, dark, and hot. Like, used-to-be-on-Law-and-Order-there’s-no-way-he’s-the-dad hot! I kept waiting for it to be a mistake, for the teenager to refer to him as the hot uncle. But it never happened. The hot guy really is the dad.
It turns out it’s not just a one-time thing. The dads are becoming hot.
Now that I’m over the shock I can see it as a good thing. We have had hot moms on TV forever. And I used to complain about the beautiful, slim women with the fat, obnoxious husbands on sitcoms. It was unfair to viewers and sent the wrong message to young girls. But Hollywood has never listened to the advice I scream at the TV. So, what happened?
Does this mean I’m getting old? Or is the world really about to end? Does it even matter, as long as there’s a hot guy on TV?
It’s Fun Friday again! I had so much fun reading blogs this week, but these three
stuck out to me as the funniest:
Saturday Night Live did a spoof of the Kardashian divorce. It was hilarious, and I actually like the Kardashians. I think this is a good lesson in learning to laugh at ourselves. I hope the Kardashians all watched and had a good chuckle. Because if we can’t laugh at our own mistakes, life is going to be pretty boring. Oh, and I loved the Kris Humphries impersonation. It really captured what I think of him. I am beginning to wonder why I stopped watching SNL. I don’t stay up that late, but maybe it’s worth recording?
Childhood Relived had a hilarious post about the movie The Goonies and being a latch-key kid. I, too, was home alone starting in third grade and loved the reminder of how much fun I had as a kid, but how scary that would seem today. The TV show references were a little bit before my time, but I remember watching Oprah and Phil Donohue while heating up those little pizza pockets in the oven. Good memories!
Debra Kristi had a guest post by Myndi Shafer that was all about what’s in the underwear drawer. It was a funny read and it got me to thinking. At first I just remembered how I kept all my cash in my underwear drawer when I lived in Ecuador because nobody trusted the banks. But then I remember the time in college where some fraternity boys broke in and stole a bunch of everyone’s underwear. We found them in big plastic bags in the freezer. Most of my friends were mortified, I mostly thought it was a good prank, even though I seem to remember a pair of mine ending up on the frat house flag pole. Yeah, I have good taste in undies. When it was all said and done, I ended up with an official apology letter from the fraternity president, on fraternity letterhead. That letter is still in the back on my underwear drawer today.
If you check out any of these, I’d love to know what you think. Did any posts make you laugh out loud this week?
Happy Friday! Have a great weekend.
I know I need to go to the gym. I feel better, sleep better, look better, even write better when I’m working out regularly. I have
more energy, I feel strong, and I can kick off a cold or flu with just a few days of Airborne.
I know all the health benefits to my heart and
lungs, and blah, blah, blah.
So, why is it so hard for me to get there?
Once I’m there, it’s no problem. Something about walking by the front desk seeing other people lifting weights and pounding on
the treadmills gets me energized. I go from, “I’ll just do twenty minutes on the bike” to a whole weight routine, plus thirty minutes of interval-style cardio on something upright.
While I’m working out I think about how great I feel, how I’ll look in my clothes, and I plan my workouts for the rest of the week. I even go home and eat a little bit healthier, maybe think about a subscription to Women’s Health or Oxygen magazines. I go to sleep feeling relaxed, healthy, and strong. And loving how I feel.
But the next day it’s all gone. The last thing I want to do is go to the gym and the excuses begin: You went yesterday, A day off is a good thing, You can rest today and workout tomorrow.
I’ve read plenty of magazines and tried all their tricks. Lists of reasons to work out are posted all over my house and pictures of ideal bodies hang on my fridge, bathroom mirror, and the “vision board” in my office. The only action they’ve stirred is my brother to tell me I should take them down before he comes over. They kind of creep him out.
Dr. Oz, or some other famous doctor quoted in Oprah, said that working out is like flossing our teeth. We may not want to do it, but we have to just get it over with like any chore. Doesn’t really inspire me to put on a sports bra.
And it’s not the working out that’s the problem. It is literally getting my butt out of my front door.
Why is that so hard?
Does anyone else have a problem getting to the gym? Any tricks that actually work? (Other than Gillian from Biggest Loser moving in with me. I don’t respond to yelling.)