The reason why I’m reminiscing about this is because I’ve faced the horrific fact today that for the first time :::sigh::: I am dying my hair tonight NOT for funsies, but because my gray hair is out of control :::Weeps softly:::. So in an effort to make myself not feel like an old bag, I decided to reflect upon a time when dying my hair was fun and exciting … not a task on the good ol’ “to-do” list.
I was 17, kicking off my senior year in high school, and loathing everything. I hated my classes, I hated my after-school job, I hated the process of applying to college, I hated my car … I mean you get the idea. I think this was all because I was overwhelmed with how drastically different my life was about to become, and this is how I apparently dealt with denial. So what did I do to make myself feel better? Dye my virgin hair … clearly.
Naturally I have a chestnut-ish brown hair color. I found it yawn-worthy and wanted to add a touch of red to it. Just a touch. Red? I know, scary, right? I was terrified. I was excited. But when the dying was done, it looked exactly the same as my nature color. I was devastated to say the least and sobbed the night away. Yep, teenager problems.
True, that was my first hair dying experience, but I consider my second experience the real deal. A few months later, after I had just turned 18, I went back for another try. This time instead of saying, “just a little hint of red, a little touch, nothing crazy,” I said something like red brown-ish (aren’t I good with descriptions). He slathered my head with dye, and after a couple of minutes I began to feel my scalp burning. Hmm … I just assumed this was normal.
Note: My friends had planned a surprise birthday party for me that evening, but at the time knew nothing besides “be ready at 7.”
When I sat down in the chair after washing the dye out, I noticed my roots were quite bright. Hmmm. Something a little shocking, but I said, hey, at least it’s different this time, right? As he began the process of blowing out my hair, I saw it getting redder, and redder … and redder. The more it dried, the more my eyes filled with tears, until I looked in the mirror and realized, “holy fuck, I’m Debra Messing.” No longer was I a brunette, I was a straight up, horrific red head. Again … instead of freaking out and punching my hair dresser square in the face, I sucked back tears, told him, “ahh I love it,” lip quivering, and sulked home.
My mom tried to console me by telling me how fierce I looked, but it didn’t help. I had just spent all of my birthday money on a new hair color that made me look like the worst version of myself. Years later she would tell me it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever done to myself. So much for honesty, right? And that evening, my best friends threw me a surprise party, and when I entered, the record screeched … clearly due to the fact that my hair was … yes … red. Like there isn’t even an embarrassing photo to show you because I refused to be documented during this time.
Good times, right? I still get insane urges to dye my hair different colors, like recently blonde crossed my mind. And then I think about that pit in my stomach I got when I realized my hair dressed had just bleached my hair red and destroyed me, and then I come to my senses.
With that being said, this is how I roll now: