Over the past few years, my hair has been many colors. Starting in 2011, I dyed my naturally dark-brown hair black, to match my mood. Back then I was known as either Maura or The Goth Girl From The Supermarket. It was my thing.
In 2013, I decided it was time to de-goth and to get my hair dyed dark brown. It was the only time I'd had my hair colored in a salon, and it wasn't great. Obviously my hair turned bright red because that's what happens when you dye your hair black for years.
After that I started DIYing.
2014 was the year of Skittle Maura. At school, I was known as the girl who has different hair every time you see her. My hair was brown with a yellow ombré (I know...); the ombré later turned pastel pink with purple; after that, I dyed it purple entirely. For some reason, I really wanted to go back to pastel pink after that but found you can't go pink from purple — only the other way around.
After having completely fried those ends, I cut them off. Being happy with my healthy hair, naturally, I dyed it hot pink. Not long after that, I switched it to blue because, honestly, hot pink goes with nothing.
And after having been blue for a solid nine months, I chopped it all off and opted for a platinum pixie cut.
There's something very self-hating about my hair journey. I embraced every change as long as it wasn't a step back. I didn't want to be recognized as the person I used to be; I loved the anonymity a new haircut and color gave me. Changing my hair has helped me a lot with anxiety. Places I didn't want to go at first were suddenly an available option again because I wouldn't get recognized. It gave me confidence.
When you dye your hair so often, you see it as necessary, or as "a thing you do." Mostly, when something becomes "your thing," you don't suddenly give it up, even if you don't know why you keep doing it. That's what changing my hair is to me; it's my thing, so I do it. I can't go back to my natural hair color right? Dark-brown hair is boring! With blonde hair, the world is your oyster; you can put everything on top of blonde hair. I still wanted to go grey, coral, lilac and pink someday.
My platinum era lasted for over a year. Even though I've always been careful with my hair and I took good care of it, the inevitable happened: breakage. For the longest time, I didn't really notice the breakage because I didn't feel like growing out my short hair, so I got regular trims — the most damaged parts (the ends) always got cut off. Easy fix. For a really long time I identified with my blonde, short hair. Every time someone asked me if I wanted long hair I laughed at them. Nope!
A few months back, though, I started toying with the idea of growing my hair out. I've had fun with the pixie cut, but as with all my previous hair choices, I got bored. And I wanted to be able to put it in a bun. The more growth I noticed in my hair, the more breakage started to occur. If I wanted longer hair, I had to stop damaging it so much. I had to stop being platinum for a while.
To cover up my roots a bit, I opted for a honey-brown semipermanent color. This would effectively hide my roots without me having to commit to having brown hair forever.
And that's how I ended up where I am today.
On a day my horoscope told me not to do anything impulsive, I box-dyed my hair, of all things. My semi-permanent dye had washed out, and I was a blonde again. I found a box of L'Oréal Paris Sublime Mousse in Light Brown in our bathroom cabinet and decided to use it. Light brown would look nice with my roots grown in, I thought, yet I could still let it fade enough to go back to blonde.
I applied the dye and sat around for the recommended 30 minutes. Of course, I completely forgot that box dye can be evil. I rinsed out the dye and noticed that my hair was the color I had so actively been avoiding the past few years: my natural dark brown.
And with that accident, my hair-dyeing days were over.
I can't go back to platinum from this color. None of the fun colors will work. I looked in the mirror, and in my head, I heard the Adele's "Hello." OK that might be an exaggeration, but seeing my old self in the mirror made quite an impact. Every time I changed my hair, the mirror moment was special because I got to see what the new color looked like, but this color just looked like... well... me.
If my hair hadn't gone back to my natural color by accident I don't think I would've gone back to my natural color anytime soon. This decision that I was always too scared to make was made for me.
And I couldn't be happier.
It's forced me to make peace with my previous self, and that has given me so much closure. It also made me feel less compelled to wear so much makeup, because the blonde hair made me look (or at least feel) quite washed out if I didn't apply anything.
Even though all the haircuts and colors gave me confidence, this is an entire different sort of confidence. I feel powerful and stronger. This just feels like coming home to myself. It's a challenge, but it's such a wonderful mistake.