Recently, I dyed my hair blue.
I did it for one reason and one reason alone: because I felt like it.
I'm a chronic, glorious overthinker. I practice yoga pretty much every day, in addition to other forms of exercise, to get out of my mind and back into my physical body. Yet, if I'm being honest, I am someone who easily lives inside of my head.
So I dyed my hair blue, and I decided to not overthink it.
To be fair, I had to make the appointment, and I did have a week or so when I could have canceled it, so it wasn't exactly as spontaneous as that stripe of green Manic Panic I did in my friend's bathroom the summer before ninth grade. Still, it felt spontaneous and fun.
In my "real life," I'm a mom to two children, a wife, a writer, and a handful of other roles that I can claim. These days, however, "Mom" is the role that I wear first and foremost, since my kids are small and physically dependent on me.
My oldest daughter ecstatically matched her dress to my hair when I came home from the salon. For days afterward, she would lose what she was talking about when she looked at me, instead stopping mid-sentence and uttering "blue" while staring at my hair.
She's too young to care what her friends think about it. I'm mainly home all day. It seemed like the perfect time to do something so simple, and yet so freeing mentally.
I learned these things from randomly dying my hair blue at age 36:
1. People don’t compliment each other enough.
Many people have told me that they love my hair, and even that they're jealous of it. Many people, too, have said nothing at all. I mentioned to my sister that this silence can, I guess, be taken for disapproval. I told her that I genuinely don't care, since I (and my husband and my girls) love it. She offered that, in her experience, people in general don't offer sincere compliments like I do.
I believe in compliments. There's no real downside to handing them out when they're heartfelt, and, equally, most of us could use the practice in receiving them. (Here's a tip: just say "thank you" — that's it.)
2. Self-love really is internal.
If we're looking outside of ourselves for approval and self-love, then every single time we will not find it. Loving ourselves truly starts within.
3. Children are hilarious.
As an overall rule, I believe that hair is an accessory to have fun with. In this spirit, I've done a lot of different things with my hair. One of my favorite ways I've worn it is full-on platinum blonde. I'd almost forgotten how children loved my platinum hair, until I was reminded of it after dying it blue.
My husband couldn't stop laughing when, as we were walking from the parking lot into the grocery store, and he saw an about 3-year-old child press his face against the glass of a minivan to see me better.
4. Nothing is forever.
I lament this often — that nothing is for forever.
These days with my young children can be challenging, but their childhoods go by so quickly. I think back also on my marriage, and on us dating as kids, and how fast these years together are moving.
Hair? It's important. To say that hair is not important would not be fully understanding of how people use their appearances as an art of self-expression. Regardless, it's all temporary, and the blue washing out of my hair slowly is another reminder of this. Moreover, it's a remembrance to live my life each day as best as I can. Some days, assuredly, I'm better at it than others. But I have this one life, and I want to display to my two children how much more I enjoy it when I don't take myself too seriously.