Dyeing for a Change

This past Friday I dyed my hair black. That really wouldn’t be note worthy if not for the fact that just three weeks ago I dyed it purple.  Now, it didn’t turn out the shade of purple that I really wanted. I was shooting for “potentially may get fired” purple but instead I got “can only be seen in 8:00 AM sunlight” purple. I don’t know if I was more disappointed by the lack of vibrancy in the color or the fact that I spent 7 hours bleaching and coloring my hair. The week following the purple dye job I received a visit from a fellow church member whom I haven’t seen in about 6 months (and not because HE hasn’t been going to church, if you catch my drift) and the first thing he said when he noticed the purple was, “Purple? What is that, a freedom thing?” I laughed it off and told him that I had been toying with the idea of an unusual hair color for about 4 months. It really wasn’t until I left work that day that I realized that he had been right on the money. Of course I wasn’t going to tell him that, but I grudgingly accepted his pin point accuracy. I have always been quick to change some aspect of my hair.  I used to get perms (ah, the good old creamy crack days) until I reached 9th grade. I told my ma that I didn’t want perms any longer which was fine with her because she hated doing hair and quite honestly stunk at perming.God bless her sweet soul.  I started twisting it and wearing bantu knots to get a fake curl going on. By 10th grade I was wearing micro braids first semester, kinky twists 2nd semester, another set of micro braids 3rd semester, and by 4th semester I finally coaxed ma into letting me chop it all off. I wore an Afro 11th grade and let me advise you against this if you have immature friends. I would come home with all sorts of doo-dads in my hair because my friends thought activities such as sticking rocks in my hair during art class was so hilarious. Senior year I had dreadlocks. Freshman year of college I picked those down and wore a short afro with a blonde chunk up front (the blonde was really due to my beautician cutting my hair off instead of trimming it. I didn’t tell her, but I cried in the car because that was TWO YEARS of hair. So I dyed the front honey blonde to help me cope with the grief).  Supposed to be sophomore year (I dropped out) I did the locs again. I dyed them an array of blonde and red to emulate fire (don’t ask). Supposed to be junior year I picked those down and wore a medium sized Afro. I was terrible at hair maintenance so I got my dreadlocks back, and they have been dyed red, brown, brown with blonde tips, brown/black, purple, and now fully black all within their two years upon my head. I used to think it was a bit humorous that I couldn’t commit to a hairstyle. I even joked that it was proof that I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I dye my hair to feel free.  I started developing mild anxiety in the 8th grade and it slowly grew more extreme as I hit high school, an anxiety inducing environment within itself. I stopped going to school functions or social outings. I never went to basketball games (unless they were in school basket ball games and Lord knows I’d do anything to get out of certain classes), I haven’t been to a dance since 7th grade (I didn’t even go to prom, which I surprisingly don’t regret), and I didn’t walk the stage at my graduation. In fact, I was in the audience when they called my name and God only knows what happened to my diploma…..My friends begged me to attend a graduation part with them. Sadly enough, they even tried to get my ma to coax me into going and she tried her hardest *MAJOR SIDE EYE* Even now, I only feel partially comfortable going to stores if I have someone to accompany me. There was this one time I needed to go to the store to buy some groceries. After a 45 minute internal battle, I reasoned with myself that I didn’t have to go to the Kroger right down the road from me. I could ease a bit of my discomfort by going to the smaller one 20 minutes across town. I drove all the way across town and THEN persuaded myself into believing that I didn’t really need groceries (even though there was absolutely nothing at home to eat). I then drove all the way back home and cried because I couldn’t even muster up enough courage to feed myself. I started to feel trapped, and it’s a feeling that has never left me.Thus, I began to change my hair since I felt like I couldn’t change myself any other way. I’ve done some other changes as well including switching up my style, rearranging the layout of my bedroom (which I change about 4 times yearly), I’ve gotten colored contacts, etc.  I’ve tried to experience new things through these seemingly insignificant changes to help feel less stagnant.  As of now I’m working at a job I absolutely loathe (trust me, I’ll be complaining about it more and more as I do these posts) and I feel like the work environment is a detriment to my mental and physical health, but I don’t know what else to do or where else to go. I don’t know how to handle changes in life. I have friends and family who are go-getters and I’m just wondering why that couldn’t have been an hereditary trait. My brother is a doctor….well a doctor of mechanical engineering but still….and he has traveled to Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Arizona, Honduras, Belize, and Germany. He has never feared going out or hanging out. My cousin is in the Marines, and he’s been stationed in Japan, California, and Kuwait, and he is now applying for art school. I’m acquainted with people who chase dreams and I’m just stuck. (I did a hand motion to symbolize my stuckness but you guys couldn’t see it…it was a wonderfully symbolic hand gesture…). I think the most bizarre thing is that the need and the desire to change feels like it’s going to consume me so I don’t understand why I can’t turn that feeling into an actual experience. I keep putting off going for what I want (actually, choosing what I want and THEN going for it), and I’ve been putting off since I dropped out of college, which was 5 years ago. Every time I think of the future I antsy and next thing I know I’m doing something like changing up my make up routine. I’ve got to change and it has got to be a change that affects more than my physical appearance. If I don’t make a change soon I am two thousand percent positive that I won’t last. The unrest is already mounting once again and if I don’t make a move who knows what hair color I’ll end up with next. Probably teal…

-Ayoo

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