Did you ever have something you want to do but don’t have the nerve?
Go ahead. Do it.
The summer I turned sixteen, I bleached my long brunette hair into brassy blonde.
I didn’t have money for a salon so I attacked it myself with an sixteen-ounce bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a gigantic gulp of teenage courage.
I can’t really say how it looked to other people, but to me, I had arrived at a new level of awesome.
Do blondes really have more fun? Only if they think they do. And I did.
Suddenly my conversation became brilliant. I could hold my own against any female in our local town. Because I believed being blonde made me confident and cute, it did.
I smiled and teased with boys, as blonde girls do, and was delighted to find it worked.
I accepted a date with a popular boy who was three years my senior and then learned how to escape from a car when locked in by a boy who wanted to control me but couldn’t control himself. I got out unscathed but with an entirely new mindset about popular boys and a brand-new confidence that I could spit out powerful words when under pressure.
I remained a ravishing blonde through the next school year until spring, when three weeks before Prom, my mom gave me a perm that was advertised as safe for bleached hair. It wasn’t. My hair burned beyond repair, so I finally coughed up money for a salon, where I learned the only solution was a pixie haircut. It’s a cute cut but wasn’t in style until three years later. So, I was either way ahead of the fashion curve or a desperately disillusioned high school junior girl with a boy’s haircut.
I promptly earned the nickname of Elmer and decided to go with it. My prom date was a good friend who didn’t mind my pixie haircut (Thanks, Louis!). Then a week before Prom I had to get a smallpox vaccination which puffed up and scabbed over. I made it to prom in my sister-in-law’s party dress, sporting a burnt-blonde pixie cut and a band-aid on my arm. But it wasn’t a total loss. Louis knew the newspaper photographer, we got our photos in the Sunday morning paper, and my pixie cut looked, well…perky!
My hair grew out, I quit being blonde, and I reverted to life as a brunette until grey started creeping in – but I chose to think of it as silver. That’s another story.
Playing at being blonde taught me a lot.
I learned that who I am is not the color of my hair, but the beliefs in my head.
I learned that a flirting girl attracts guys who like flirts. I didn’t want to marry that kind of guy, so I quit flirting.
I learned it’s liberating to be brazen enough to experiment with new ways of being.
I learned I had a wise mom and dad who trusted me to experiment and learn.
I learned to summon an inner strength to stand up and defend myself against someone trying to control me.
I learned there were guys out there who would like me for who I am and not for how I looked.
I learned that by laughing with friends who nicknamed me Elmer, an experience that could have been painful, it became just another funny high school story.
I am the summation of my life’s adventures. Every one of them taught me something more about myself.
There is always something new waiting for me.
I’ve been thinking…I’ll bet if I wear a red dress, I can do anything.
“Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life; Lead it!”
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Review: … This is the BEST non-fiction book I have read in years. I could not put it down! The story is super engaging, Eleni, the main character, is so wise and inspiring. The story of a community based on deep respect, for the earth, for nature, and for each other, gives me hope in these times of corruption, chaos and extreme unrest… more reviews
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