I have spent most of my life caring about what other people think.
I have been led to believe that “blondes do it better”. Blonde is sexy, blondes turn heads, blondes are the epitome of sex appeal. And so, for the past eight years I have been blonde: platinum blonde, beige blonde, dark blonde, any shade of light blonde. For quite some time now I have been playing around with the idea of going darker. I have had every possible shade of hair colour (natural and unnatural) on this mane of mine, and I’ve always thought darker hair is too harsh on my light skin and, anyway, blonde is sexier.
My husband met me as a blonde and, as any wife would know, men aren’t so great at dealing with change and therefore I have always been hesitant to go back to my roots (as I am, actually, a natural brunette). Yet, lately I have felt that a change is needed and I am so tired of being placed in the “blonde box”, especially since I am a lawyer.
The blonde box is the preconceived notion that most people have about blonde women who have acceptable physiques: something pretty to look at, but not there to make an intellectual contribution to any conversation; a threat to relationships and more likely to be the other woman; easy to get into bed and not likely to succeed by way of brain matter, but rather by way of manipulation and flirtation. This is obviously an exaggerated stereotype, and I am not saying that every single person perceives every single blonde the same way, but there are varying degrees of discrimination that blondes receive.
Needless to say, despite the stereotypes and having to work harder to be taken seriously, I loved my blonde hair, I loved the way it looked and the fact that it made me look more approachable than black hair ever did.
I have pinterested every possible type of balayage and I have played around with so many different ideas with my hair, all in the name of making a change without committing to moving too far away from the blonde. When the big day came last week Friday, I kind of felt it’s now or never, I can’t just threaten to change it up, I need to go all the way. And all the way we went. Chocolate brown with my old blonde as highlights here and there. The difference is huge and sometimes I forget I am now a brunette and not a blonde anymore.
The mental change it has made is quite something. I feel like I’m not living for society’s approval anymore. I know there are people who preferred me blonde and when I am ready I will definitely go blonde again, but for now I am making decisions for me. I was in the mood to be a brunette and I couldn’t care less what other people thought about the change. I feel like I’m not being put in a box by other people anymore and that there are no preconceived ideas by strangers about who I am as soon as they meet me. I feel like when I meet new men I don’t see a flicker of consideration of “trying their luck” in their eyes anymore. I feel like I am on neutral playing ground. I determine who and what I am and not society’s idea of what is beautiful, sexy or attractive. I determine whether I should be taken seriously or not, and not my hair colour. I feel, with the dark hair, I’ve become more ballsy. I am less likely to cower away from what I may think is wrong or unacceptable and more inclined to speaking my mind and maybe even, in a sense, more demanding.
So now, I am walking around, feeling liberated.
Do I care whether people like my hair or not? Not at all.
Do I care what other people think of me? Less than a week ago.
Do I feel like now my personality can outshine my appearance? Abso-effing-lutely!!