A few months ago, I went for it. I went to my hair stylist and asked her to do something crazy. I wanted to go pink all over.
It's been something I've thought about since high school, if you can believe it. Maybe it was because Gwen Stefani's hair was just so fabulous, back in her No Doubt days or because Pink looked so gorgeous when she was still...well, pink.
It's possible it could have been after watching Grease 5,000 times with my girlfriends or after seeing Shirley MacLaine in What a Way to Go.
But whatever put it in my head would stay for about two decades...until I was chatting with Kat, my friend and hair stylist about feeling sad that I had missed "my window." I sighed as I sat in her chair, bemoaning the fact that I was too old to do something as silly as dye my hair a bright pop of color.
She stopped, looked at me straight in the eyes through the big mirror in front of us and said,
"Stop being timid. If you want pink hair, just do it. My mom is in her 60's and has bright purple hair! You're the only one saying you're too old."
Was I being timid? Yes. Absolutely, I was. Why, I wondered? Why was I being so cautious about something as silly as hair?
If I hated it, the worst thing was let it fade and go back blonde. Right? I voiced my concerns and apprehension to Kat as she continued fixing my roots, turning them from a mousy light brown, back to the blonde I've always been and love.
"What if I just did a little section? You know, like underneath...so I can hide it if I hate it? What if I took baby steps?"
She looked at me through the mirror once again and winked, saying we could totally do that. Hairdressers are like counselors, aren't they? They talk you off ledges and push you gently when you're feeling stuck.
When I left with a pink streak in my hair that day, I was freaking out. It was a lot for me. It felt bold and daring. I wondered what people would think and I was incredibly self-conscious. Yet every time I passed a mirror, the pink would catch my eye and I'd smile. I liked it and I needed to get over the idea that others may not.
I didn't do it for them, I did it for myself.
About a year later, I was once again sitting in Kat's chair. She'd dyed her hair the most beautiful shade of blush and I was over-the-moon about it. "But you're a hair stylist", I told her. "You can have crazy hair."
She rolled her eyes in the kindest way possible and asked me again why I was being timid. "You don't work in an office," she said. "You have no dress code to adhere to. You're also a creative and you love pink. In fact...the color is basically your branding. I'm not going to push you, but when you're ready, I'm ready."
A few weeks later, I was back in her chair gripping my coffee cup tightly as we went for it. Pink. All over pink.
And then I freaked.
I know each washing takes the color out, but this was too bold, too crazy. I washed my hair five times that first day because I thought I looked like a superhero or someone straight out of a comic book. I had a big event coming up mere days later and these were conservative ladies and I didn't know how they'd act, what they'd think of me.
I got scared of what others thought.
Like a nice Christian girl wouldn't possibly have pink hair or something.
In the months since, I've come to I love it. I don't know how long I'll keep the all-over pink because there's a lot of upkeep but I've realized something about myself....and it makes my heart pound and my palms sweat as I admit it.
Without meaning to, I think I often push people into categories.
You're more traditional in how you look so your faith is probably deeper, richer.
But you over there...you're a bit more extravagant and free in how you dress, how your hair looks, or how many tattoos you have. You feel wild and untamed, so I'm going assume you're a bit more of a work in progress than those girls over there in their J. Crew sundresses. I'm going to pick you up and put you in this category over here.
Because these two groups can't comingle.
WHAT?! No. Nonononono.
Who says? Who put these thoughts in my mind? Why would I look at someone with piercings all over their face and assume immediately that my faith is deeper than theirs? When did I become so judgemental?
Why does my view of "acceptable" become law and fact?
Here's the thing: it doesn't.
I am not judge. I am not lawmaker.
Having pink hair has put me out of my comfort zone in so many different areas and though I actually think it's fun and have decided it's perfect for the season I'm in...I'm noticing that a lot of people think they're judges and lawmakers, like me.
I've met people who were rude and dismissive, making unkind comments about my hair. I've heard my kids' friend's parents say they were really excited to meet me, only to turn around to shake my hand and stop. Faces frozen and smiles waning, they move on quickly. There have been awkward moments while serving in leadership at church.
But there have also been moments where little girls come up and say in their sweet little wispy voices, "I really love your hair." I've had young and old women alike tell me how they wish they were bold enough to put color in their hair (and some even have!).
So those naysayers that think I am I doing this for attention, I will tell you no.
That's absolutely not it at all.
It's rather a little way to prove to myself that I'm not timid. It's a constant reminder that I don't do things because of status quo, but because I'm learning what it means to be ME.
Who says how we should look? There's no inappropriate dimension of this, I'm not acting in a way that's improper to my values.
I don't want to sit in Kat's chair 50 years from now and say, "I wish." Instead, I want to look back and think...
"Yes, I was comfortable enough in my own skin that I did something different. I had enough confidence in myself as a woman to do something bold and outside the box. And I went for something that was an outward expression of me and who I am."
Because that's the kind of women I want my daughters to be, too.
What have you wanted to do that you've been super timid about? Do you tend to wear jeans and t-shirts but would love to slide on a pair of leather pants? Would you love to swipe on some red lipstick instead of the chapstick that's always in your back pocket? Maybe you're not a dress kind of girl, and yet...when others wear them...they're just so pretty.
Maybe it has nothing to do with how you look, but something you'd like to do or experience. Traveling to a third-world country? Skydiving? Changing jobs and doing something you're passionate about rather than feeling a bit stifled in? Going to cooking school or taking art classes?
What is it that you have been too afraid to do because of what others may think? What portion of YOU is just aching to come out?
Why not do it for you? So you fail, so what? So someone makes a backhanded comment. We'll probably get them while looking or acting the way we do now anyway.
We've all heard the quote,
What if I fail?
Oh, my darling, what if you fly?
I'll leave you with that, because what if you do?! What if saying yes to this thing, even if it feels small and inconsequential in the grand scheme of life...what if it's just what your heart needs to flourish and fly? What if this one little act leads to something bolder and bigger?
Download this printable and put it somewhere you'll see it often. I think we could all use it as a daily reminder to live boldly. Head to The Library to print it out. xo