It's Not Easy Being Green

September 5, 2016

One of the biggest, most important lessons I have been inhaling like a fresh-baked cinnamon roll on Sunday morning is how much better off I am the broader my mind is. When I remember to focus on what really matters, I find it is more in the nature of this dementor to be forgiving.

After a lifetime of thinking hair care was frivolous, I have discovered the wonders of the Aveda beauty school. I now treat myself whenever I think I want to and always have a great experience. I am not, however, immune to the quintessential beauty school hiccups.

I went to get my roots done and the stylist I got had not worked with foils much. She emphasized this to the educator who would quickly reveal himself to be a rather busy bee. Despite her cautious warnings of unfamiliar waters, the decision was reached. Fire all pistons! We're going to send Titanic careening even faster into New York and wow the crowds with our hastily-thought-out plan!

When she was pulling the foils out of my hair over the sink, she said, 'Ohhhh man, this is reaaaaally light and spotty. Like, not chunky highlights spotty, but leopard spotty. I'm just going to go ask someone about toner.'


I frantically scrambled to pull my camera phone up and, yup, my hair was bleached. Almost fully on just the top layer. I started feeling like I was going to cry, sat up, and asked to speak to a manager.

Just kidding. I giggled and reassured her that IT'S JUST HAIR! While sitting with her from 3:00-8:40 pm (they close at 7), I heard a lot about people whose impatience and attitude brought HER to tears. Because they felt inconvenienced about an imperfect experience when volunteering to have someone learn on their hair for cheap, they said nasty things so discouraging that she cried. After all she'd told me about previous customers, how could I feel at all vicious? You sign a waiver when you go in, by the way. It's definitely a "go in with an open mind" kind of place.

I told her she could accidentally turn my hair purple and I wouldn't be mad, so here was my chance to walk the walk. I had listened to a podcast talking about stoicism and intentionally exposing yourself to embarrassment on occasion, so you'll be better prepared when the more important things happen in life. The speaker would wear red, sparkly pants to a party sometimes, just to incite the sideways glances that help to fortify one's sense of self-confidence.

Ultimately, I knew how I could change the results to better fit what I'd like to see, anyway. And I did. And I love LOVE my new hair. I still had less favorable reactions from most people I encountered whose taste is different from mine: 'Oh, your hair! Do you like it?'

All to say, appearance is a very subjective thing, not everyone has the same tastes, and none of it REALLY matters unless you, yourself, feel affected by it. One of the things that I think demonstrates less-evolved intelligence, as exemplified very strongly by Donald Trump, is a propensity for striking out at people by mocking their physical appearances. It is such a low blow about something so unimportant that I lose a lot of respect when I hear it.

More than any joy about my hair, I feel proud because that stylist, who was learning and whose job revolves around trying to match exactly we sensitive people want, told me that I was her favorite client because I engaged in conversation and was understanding. All said and done, I am proud that my priorities lie more in being a kind, reasonable person than a beautiful one.

It's not that I have the luxury of this revelation because I've always been pretty, either. I was never popular and I never felt pretty until I was out of college. Only then did I start to realize my own satisfaction was all that mattered and I started taking risks, making changes that helped me to see myself differently. Don't not wear red lipstick because others might think it's too much, you garish clown! Don't not dye your hair because others might think you're ditzy (a real staple word for the misogynistic bullies). Don't not wear that fluffy Santa sweater because someone said it was dorky. Anyone who even THINKS about your appearance as though it matters is someone who maybe shouldn't matter much to you.

It's not about shocking people to show them you don't care. It's about being happy with yourself, despite what the unhappy trolls of the world will say. And it is one of the most empowering lessons I have ever learned. I do wonder why Kermit's wisdom failed to sink in when I was younger, but all that matters is that it has now. Anything you don't like about yourself is almost always something you can change. So, get creative! Broaden your minds! BE NICE where it makes sense! (don't mistake being a pushover for being kind) And for goodness sake, don't take yourself so flippin' seriously.


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