In July of 2015, I went from brunette to having blue, green, and purple “mermaid hair.” I’d wanted to dye it for a while, but had never followed through on it before. Before I did it, many of the adults around me that weren’t my friends kept telling me how much I’d regret it and how drastically it would negatively impact my life. I was told that I’d never get respect, that it’d ruin my hair, that I’d miss my old color too much, that it’s only something delinquent teenagers do, and even that having dyed hair would make me want to “fit in to that crowd,” somehow causing me to do things like drugs and other illegal activities. They were all certain that simply changing my hair color would somehow change who I was.
I decided to do it anyway, and let me tell you — best decision I ever made. Overwhelmingly, it has only improved my quality of life. The only negativity I get is from older adults, and even that is rare. I get compliments on a daily basis, and there isn’t a place I’ve been where I haven’t gotten at least one comment. It didn’t ruin my hair, despite all the people adamantly telling me it would. I was able to go to a really nice place (an intentional decision), and the bleaching process was extremely carefully done. My hair is a little frizzier after washing if I don’t put some kind of product in it, but that’s about it. I don’t miss my old color at all. And, shockingly, I haven’t turned to a life of drugs and crime. What I have done is started taking better care of my hair in order to make the colors last longer, and I’ve gained a sense of self-confidence like I never had before. I always used to be very self-conscious about how my hair looked at any given time, but now, I don’t really care. It’s blue! That’s all that matters. I love having such beautiful and unique hair, and, yes, I love the attention that goes along with it. There’s nothing quite like getting a compliment from a complete stranger. Having dyed hair is exactly as I thought it would be, only better. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I recently dyed it again — purple and pink this time.
The lesson to be taken away from this experience is that only you can decide what’s best for you. Especially with something that isn’t permanent, you should do what you want to do, regardless of discouragement by others. Hair will grow back, you can return clothing, and even tattoos can be removed. If you truly believe that you know you want it, go for it. People around you will alway try to change your mind and change your views to match theirs, but the truth of it is that no two people are exactly the same. No two people are going to experience something in exactly the same way. Now, that isn’t to say that you should totally ignore your loved ones; they’ll often be your biggest points of guidance when you’re trying to make a tough decision. You just have to keep in mind that ultimately, it’s up to you.