Sunday, 23 October 2011

As I was colouring my hair by myself, I was kind of regretting having long hair. I mean, I love the way long hair looks on me, but I'm beginning to loathe my current haircut. Especially when colouring it by myself. Considering how difficult it was to do myself last time with this colour (Loreal Paris UV3 -  Ultra Violet Black) and knowing how runny the stuff is compared to some other products out there that are much easier to use, maybe I should have considered a different colour, but I REALLY liked the intensity of this one, and it seems to have pretty good coverage. Maybe I should have asked someone for help. But honestly, there are some things I prefer to do myself. Not because I enjoy the challenge, although to say I don't enjoy challenging myself would be a lie. It's more a combination of not wanting to burden other people, and not trusting other people.

I love my friends, I do. But some things I just don't trust to other people. And those things are usually fairly cosmetic. Figures. I don't necessarily think of myself as a shallow person, but when it comes to my appearance I hate it when I don't look the way I want too. It makes me feel uncomfortable. And if I'm doing something, like getting my hair coloured by some one else and they screw it up I get pretty angry with them. Honestly, I get angry at myself too when I screw up something like my hair colour or cut, but at the same time I can use the excuse of doing it myself to justify a few flubs, 'cuz I'm not a professional. But when a professional screws up, I get super pissed. And yes, in the case of dying my hair professionals have screwed up way worse than I ever have on my own. And in the case of friends? Well, I think the reason I don't trust them with my hair is because most of my friends just aren't into the whole beauty thing. And the ones who are don't trust themselves enough to do it and get it professionally done themselves, or I have seen their mistakes and well, don't want to have a similar experience (sorry gals!).

And this whole train of thought got me thinking about my whole quest for identity when I was a teenager. We all quest for our identities at that age, although I'm a super geek who would refer to it as a quest. When I was younger, I wanted to so very badly be that cool feminist intellectual, with wit and a laissez-fair style. I wanted to be Janeane Garofalo. Cynical, witty, dry and oh so uncool that I became cool, so anti-trend I would set the trends. But when we are young, we don't really spend a lot of time reflecting on who we actually are, we just focus on who we want to be. And I didn't ever really understand the distinction until I got interested in style and fashion.

You see, style and fashion taught me that it was okay to have self expression, to like things because I liked them, whether they were popular or not.

(Excuse me, the timer just went off, so I have to go rinse my dye out.)
*twenty minutes later*
Aaah, and the teal menace is gone! (Not that I disliked the teal. But my last highlighting job was only so-so and as it faded, it looked worse and worse...)


My point is, that for me, my self discovery was very much intertwined with my style discovery. It was through clothing that I learned to be myself. To mix patterns and colours boldly, to dress like an insane person one day, and the next dress demure. Through a lot of trial and error, I became more and more self aware. I became the owner of my own opinions on what I liked and didn't like. It's strange now, but when I look back all I really wanted was to be a non-conformist, and fit in with all the other non-conformists. You know, be just like everyone who wasn't just like everyone else. And when I finally "gave up" and "sold out" and "bought in" I all of a sudden gained a lot of personal freedom. And to think, pop culture was telling me that being outside of the system gave us freedom, but being inside of it actually made me feel like I could be more free.

Then one day, I realised it wasn't a choice between one or the other. That I could still be a little goth one day, and a brightly coloured pin-wheel the next. That I could still watch popular sit-coms AND at the same time watch the newest anime to hit Canada straight from Japan. I could still listen to indy music, and rock out to the classics, while on the same playlist jam to the top 40. Most importantly, I could still be intelligent and enjoy style. I could wear pants and a skirt, but never at the same time. I tried that, once. Never again.

I always thought the fashion system, the beauty, the all of that, was bad. I thought it set a poor example, that it made girls starve themselves and have low self esteem and become sluts to fill the void. But you know, it never made me compromise my morals. Loving clothing never made me hate myself, watching a size 0 model never made me want to be a size 0. Fashion taught me that the reason they started using such tiny ass models was because it was cheaper. Marilyn Monroe is still considered a sex symbol, and she wasn't tiny. Even fashion tries to be frugal, although you'd think by their designer prices they weren't. But to me that's a problem with inflation and honestly, society in general. And you can't blame all of fashion for big business. Inflation is everywhere, life costs money, the whole system is broken, recession blah blah... but that isn't the fault of fashion.

The message I take from style, from fashion, is to be yourself, express yourself, find what you like and make it your own. Sure, some things may be out of your price range when it comes to style, but there's a million different takes on what fashion should be and there's a lot of affordable nice things too. There's designers who wont dress girls over a size 8, and there's others who wont dress a girl under a size 8. It's all about expression, it's all about finding who you are, and expressing it through the way you look. And when you look good, you feel good. And that's a matter of pride. Who gives a shit if other people don't like the way you look, if you like the way you look, then you feel like you look good. You've expressed yourself, made a statement, and it almost makes you feel a little more courageous as a result.

I know it seems like such a simple idea, but it actually isn't. Trust me, as women we grow up thinking that you can only be one way or the other. You can be vapid and vain and popular, or you can be uncool and intellectual. That's it, there's no middle ground. Well, the day I learned that there was a middle ground was the day I realised that I am fucking amazing in my own right, I'm beautiful, and don't need to be defined by labels even if I buy them.

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