You would think the self-confidence came before the pink hair dye. But it's been the opposite. Before I went Katy Perry pink, I was having the kind of summer that makes me dread what used to be my favorite season.
My thighs are feeling especially cottage cheesy in my shorts. My forehead especially acne-ridden from the sweat. Do I really need to keep going here? Basically I felt like everywhere I went, there was an announcer with a bullhorn yelling, "Come one, come all to gawk at the woman who desperately needs to hit the gym and get fit!" And in the middle of all of it, I decided to add pink hair dye so my head would scream "look at me, look at me!"
I swear I'm not crazy (OK, I am, but only in the "she's a blast on girls' night" kind of way). It works!
First, I owe you a little back story. Ever since my now 7-year-old daughter was teeny tiny, I have shaved my head to help St. Baldrick's fight children's cancer. It's a process that requires fundraising, where people donate "on my head." And each year that passes, it gets harder and harder to get money from the same people.
So last year I decided to up the ante. I wore a mohawk for a month. It was a conversation piece, really. People would ask about the weird 'do, and I'd talk up St. Baldrick's. It helped kick start my donations. But once you've been the chick with the mohawk, doing it again sort of loses its power. I'd been there, done that, and I needed a new idea. So a few months ago I started thinking pink. Any color would be striking, but this had an added "OMG" factor to it because I'm not a girly girl. I don't own a single pink piece of clothing.
And then came summer. And we were getting close (this year I'll be shaving in September in honor of Childhood Cancer Month, at an event raised by a friend whose son survived a battle with leukemia at 3). I was feeling particularly down in the dumps. But kids are counting on me. Reneging wasn't part of the deal.
So last week, I celebrated one of the "big" birthdays by sitting down in front of my friend Beth and saying, "Let's go Katy Perry pink." The day was by happenstance -- it just worked into her schedule as a hairdresser -- but I won't deny the irony.
Here I was making a big leap on the age scale, and here I was making a big leap as a woman. I knew the next day everyone would be staring at me at a time I really didn't feel like being stared at. But I did it.
And now, days later, I'm glad I did. Not just for the kids, but because I've discovered something about myself. Pink hair has set me free.
Yes, people are looking at me. But they're not looking at all of me. They aren't looking me up and down and ripping me to shreds. They are commenting -- usually to tell me how "bad@ss" I look or "brave" I am -- and the compliments are nice. The rest of me, the parts I'm so hard on, aren't turning them off or driving them away.
It's made the rest of my body feel ... invisible almost? For the first time in years, I even went out in a tank top on Sunday, despite arms that could use a few thousands push-ups to bring them back to the tone of pre-pregnancy. And, of course, no one said a thing about those big Casper-white flabby arms. They still wanted to talk about my hair.
I still need to exercise, and I am working on it. I am working on my diet too. But rocking the pink hair has been a nice little wake-up call. Now let's just hope it helps wake people up to my cause.
Would you, have you, rocked a pink hairdo?
Image via Jonathan Sager