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19 February 2014 @ 12:01 am
First Change for 2014  
So between Saturday January 4th and Sunday January 5th I took a very sudden and unexpected plunge and dyed my medium-brown hair almost black.

I'm cautious almost to a fault. I don't make decisions lightly, even about simple and inconsequential issues, and I avoid doing things that that might turn out wrong or that I think I might regret, and so it's very rare for me to take any action unless I'm completely certain about my decision.

I don't reach that stage quickly or easily, and I can always tell when I have because not only does my resolve suddenly go from weak and changeable to completely solid, but I'll reach this very relaxed, unswayable calm about said decision, even if it's daunting. Even if I'm frightened, the fear doesn't impact my decision to act or loosen my confidence. I may be stressing or nervous, but at my core I'm just going "no biggie" the whole time.

(A good example is last October, when, after over two years of consideration, I decided to get my ears pierced a second time. I had liked the idea for a long time, but I had never felt "certain" about it, and so I had never actually done it. Then, suddenly I became sure that that was what I wanted, and acted almost immediately. During the procedure, I was a bit nervous that I would flinch and ruin the alignment, but I never had a moment of doubt or ever second-guessed my decision.)

If I decide to force myself into doing something before I've actually become certain I want to do it, I can usually coax myself into a false sense of surety (usually while I'm someplace where I can't take any action, like work or bed) and then upon going to the place/taking the action to actually proceed with said decision, I chicken out and end up ditching, sometimes multiple times in one attempt.

But one of my New Year's resolutions for 2014 was to "enjoy myself, whether it's sensible or not." I spent 2013 scraping and drudging and working extremely hard and being extremely disciplined and despite all my effort almost everything I did ended up a fruitless waste or blew up completely in my face. So I decided this year I was going to do what I wanted, do things that made me happy, and not give a damn. So where I would normally have waited cautiously until I felt sure about it, I decided to just go and do it and see if I liked it afterwards.

So, after spending a whole day looking at photos of Katie McGrath in Merlin, thinking about Yennefer of Vengerberg and other dark-haired ladies of fiction, and then finally of how much more Native American I would look, I managed to psyche myself up enough that I broke down and picked up some dye.

I decided to dye my hair myself despite my inexperience, partly for financial reasons, and partly because I was afraid a professional would dye it a darker color than I wanted. It took several tries to get all my hair covered the first time, and I was mildly disappointed with the results, as the scalp was dense and very dark, but the ends were still auburn. On top of that, despite smudging myself with copious amounts of vaseline I managed to gets stains all over my forehead, face, and neck.

Still saddled with the disappointment of my first treatment, out of nowhere I started to feel guilty about dying my hair. I tried to disregard it because it was ridiculous, but I couldn't get over this sort of twinge of "oh, I've ruined my hair", and "it was pretty enough before", or even "I don't usually like being 'unnatural,' why did I decide to do this?", all the way to "i'm hiding who I really am" and (most especially) "my mother will hate it. she'll mourn my old hair and then I'll feel even guiltier." But I ignored it and decidedly realistically that there was no point in trying to go back, my only choice was to salvage what I had now.

I did another treatment to touch it up about a week and a half later, and decided to color my eyebrows as well. (The latter was a great decision, which I have continued every dye job since.) This treatment resulted in something much better, and much closer to what I'd wanted.

The only problem was that as time went by, I realized the "color-safe" conditioner included with the dye actually does the reverse of what it's supposed to, and anywhere that I applied it started fading back to brown. (I don't mind a little lightness at the ends, as it helps give a more natural look, but when my scalp is black and chin-on-down is cinnamon I have a problem.) So I've stopped using it and have gone back to my regular conditioner, which has kept much truer color.

I redid the color about a week before February to correct the conditioner-induced fading. Hoping to control the color application better this time, I decided to skip the gloves and go in bare-handed. This resulted in a really nice dye job, but it turned my hands black and though after several days I was able to get most of it off, my nails are still stained even now.

I dyed it again two days ago because I had rather severe grow out by then. This time I was determined not to miss any spots and used almost the entire bottle, and even when all of my hair was covered I just slathered more on until it was soaked. I also kept it on ten minutes longer than I have previously. The result is the best dye I've had so far, and I keep looking at my hair in the mirror thinking how great it looks.

I only have two concerns right now. First is that I don't want it to get too dry or damaged, so I'm hoping to do a deep condition sometime soon. And second is that nobody but Anthony (who lives with me) and my very (location-wise) closest friends know I've dyed it. None of the rest of the family knows, not even Lenore. I haven't even breathed a word about it on Tumblr, since Lenore and my sister-in-law Mallory both follow me now. I don't think most of them will care to be honest. I know Lenore will love it, my father will probably dislike it, and I expect my mother to feel exactly the way I described earlier. I've decided to keep it to myself until the next time I see them in the flesh (which will probably be months) so we'll see how it goes then.

Thankfully I'm very pleased with my hair now, and I love how pale my skin looks, how bold my brows look, and how amazing my eyes have gotten against this darker color. Plus another of my New Year's resolutions was to "cultivate an air of mystery" and not only does this qualify as it's completely out of character and entirely new, but I think I look more dramatic and fantastical now with a head of long, massive black hair, so I'm pretty satisfied.
 
 
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