I stumbled across a photo the other day. There was a time I dyed my hair black….it was probably the most rebellious bit of bodily expression I had ever done. Sadly, the dye was so harsh on my scalp that it made the hair fall out and I had to let it slowly morph back to the original blonde I had been all of my young days.
Over the course of months, as it slowly transitioned back to the girl I had seen in the mirror since first memories it adopted ten different shades of brown- all “warm” and colors like hazelnut and cinnamon that you’d probably feel more comfortable eating than describing your hair as.
See how rebellious it makes me look when I’m sporting a sombrero as a totally emo accessory. Forget leaving town to join the circus, I obviously had my sights set on a mariachi band.
The point is it never dawned on me that I could get a tattoo or piercings in places that weren’t work appropriate. There was this stopper in my self-conscious that dealt a million excuses. The only appropriate avant garde activity was dying my hair……and my scalp even rejected that.
When I hear people brag about their limited drug addled past or the bit of ink on their hip riding down the slope to their butt I know there’s a level of courage accompanied by stupidity (have you ever seen an old persons unrecognizable tattoo from WW II-it’s more unsettling than an second degree wound)……but also a sense of self and that’s why we do any of it. We have a distant hope that we can somehow create a dictionary definition of who we are. Like someone could flip to your page and immediately see the picture saying….”there’s Brad, he has a Star Wars tattoo, an eyebrow ring and is 6’3” and that means he likes fantasy and burrito’s”.
I think that’s where we get it all wrong. People have too many layers to discover who they are by definitions. You can understand actions and intentions….but more often than not those change too, we change.
When I channeled my inner Daria with my black hair I needed to. It was a comfortable coat of quasi rebellion and when I took it off I had the confidence of knowing I tried something different and maybe at the end of the day my blonde all American someone hippieish demeanor is just fine and I don’t need to make goth clubs and combat boots my safe space.