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The train ride dragged on as my
best friend and I played the world’s
most competitive version of the
silent game. Unable to look at the other,
we sat with our heads angled so that we
could only catch short glimpses of our
new selves through opposing windows.
Though we tried our hardest to act as
though nothing was wrong, the battling
scents of bleach and ammonia resulted
in the occasional sniffle from each of us.
We both knew we had done something
bad. Really bad. Something so bad that I
wished the train would ride on forever.
Waking up the next morning, the train
tickets and receipts scattered on my desk
confirmed that the events of the night
before were, in fact, not a nightmare and
now were my own special reality. I trudged
down the hall and to the kitchen, avoiding
every mirror as if by simply glancing at
it would induce seven years of bad luck.
The gloss of a fresh blowout had faded
from my head, leaving me with a bad case
of bedhead and smudged mascara on
my face (from tears or sweat, you ask? I
really couldn’t tell). I sat down at the table,
sickened by the sight of the breakfast on
my plate. Why did such a delicious food
have to be such a wretched color?
Blueberries. Blueberries. Blue, the color of
a clear sky, or a deep ocean, or a dazzling
sapphire. But looking at my blueberries all
I could think was: blue – the color of Papa
Smurf, or the messy nail polish on a seven-
year-old's fingers, or Stitch the Hawaiian
alien (although he’s kind of cute).
And now, blue was the tragic color of my
battered, broken, and bleached hair.
My intentions had been pure: I had simply
wanted my hair to make me look like the
lovechild of Gwenyth Paltrow and Brad
Pitt. Was that too much to ask? Clearly, the
answer had been yes, and yet I let a stylist
with a 64 ounce jug of bleach destroy my
hair in one fell swoop. The end result of my
impulse trip to New York City did not have
me looking like the ethereal fairy child I
had anticipated, nor a sun-kissed beach
bum. Actually, my actions had been spurred
by a picture Karlie Kloss had posted that
morning, showing off her chopped, silver
hair. I guess my logic was faulty in assuming
a change in hair color would somehow turn
me into a 6'2", 120-pound supermodel.
Instead, I looked like Katy Perry circa 2010.
The tragedy was simple – I had wanted
a platinum blonde mane and here I was,
sitting at my kitchen table with hair that
matched my pancake topping.
I dealt with my new 'do the way most
people deal with loss – in five stages. First,
denial: My hair didn’t look that bad, right?
And dark roots were becoming a trend now
... kinda? Second, anger: Why on Earth did I
decide to go to the salon that was number
157 on Google recommendations?! How did
I not know something was wrong when four
women had gathered, murmuring above
the sink as my hair soaked in bleach? Next,
bargaining: Can I get a refund? Maybe if I
go back they can fix it. Do I leave an angrily
worded anonymous Yelp review? Then,
depression: I am going to have blue hair at
high school graduation. My senior portrait
is next week! How did I fall apart like this?
And finally, acceptance. Now, I guess I had
expected this to come through some sort
of epiphany or a sudden wave of peace,
but my version of acceptance brought
nowhere near that much closure. Staring at
myself in the mirror, I had a moment of self
realization: I was the butt of some sort of
cosmic blonde joke. And, honestly, it was
pretty funny. I had messed up ... big time.
I had been impulsive, clueless, and naive.
And now, I was going to have to deal with
it. Did I deserve it? Probably not. Did I ask
for it? Well, I actually paid $300 for it (which
was another tragedy within itself).
The next couple of days were spent
strutting down every hallway as if it was
a runway and dressing as if I was about
to attend New York Fashion Week (but
on a budget, of course). What I couldn’t
make up for in good looks, I made up for
in style. Whenever a friend would make
a snide remark on my ‘unexpected’ new
look, I would flip my mane just to show
it off a little more because unexpected
didn’t really feel like a dirty word. Maybe
it was just a backhanded compliment, but
whatever. There were so many worse things
you could have called my hair.