“What’s going on with work?”
“I’m going blonde for a story next week and I’m ridiculously excited about it.”
“Oh god, why? Don’t do that. That just–it won’t look good.”
And so went the conversation between myself and the attractive bartender at one of my regular spots. I laughed and replied, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to see!” even though I didn’t find it funny at all. I left the bar feeling rather dejected–a very different emotion than the initial elation when I finally scheduled the appointment with the salon. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go through with a decision I had been so thrilled about previously because I had been told it would look unattractive, a prospect that dictates an unfortunate number of my choices.
By now, you may all be a little sick of hearing about my hair. About a month ago, I asked you folks to tell me what I should do with my hair because right now, it’s long and boring and brown and shapeless. For nearly a decade, I had unnatural-colored hair; it was mostly shades of blue, but there were bouts of Ronald McDonald red, pink and purple, yellow blonde, bright orange, and ombre pink (Tenth Grade Sam somehow hopped on that trend early). The past couple of years have primarily consisted of growing out my hair and keeping it chestnut brown, and while I am really into how long it’s gotten, I also miss trying new things.
I wound up deciding to go blonde, so
tomorrow Thursday I am heading to Hairroin Salon here in Midtown and going blonde. And I am mildly terrified, which is weird because I am (A) very excited about the opportunity to finally go blonde via a pro salon and (B) very aware that hair grows. This stems from my internalized fear of being perceived as ugly.
Back story: I haven’t mentioned this in a while because I admittedly got a little depressed when writing about it frequently, but I was bulimic for about a decade. In one of my first pieces for The Gloss a couple years ago, I detailed all the lovely (i.e. revolting) consequences I’ve experienced as a result of my binging, purging, and self-abuse. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anybody that bulimia is awful for your body in the long run, but it also has a lasting effect on how you view yourself. I can’t say for sure if it is permanent yet; at this time, it is pervasive and constant.
Since I stopped being actively bulimic (I’m honestly not sure how else to describe the state I’ve been in for the past couple of years), it is rare that I feel genuinely disgusting in appearance. Even though I am at the highest weight I have ever been, I don’t actually hate myself or how I look. This is in part because I put much more energy into focusing on my abilities, intelligence, and self-worth than on how I look, but I would be lying if I pretended that how other people perceive me, particularly those whom I am attracted to. I don’t feel ugly, but I don’t feel pretty on a regular basis, either. I am well-aware that it should not matter whether I feel lovely or not in front of other people, but that is a state of mind easier instructed than performed.
When we are young, many children–particularly little girls–are taught lessons in a very specific way. We’re told that if we look or act a certain way, nobody will like you.
Click to the following page to read some of these examples, as well as the beauty decisions real people told us they have avoided for fear of being less attractive.