Insert Lame Hair Pun Here

I've wanted red streaks in my hair since I was sixteen-years-old, and I've wanted to be a writer since I was seven. Now, I'm no Mensa candidate, but I'm a reasonably intelligent person. I have a big enough vocabulary to be mocked for it, and there are books in my life I love more than some of the people in my life (none of those people read my blog though - we're all safe here). But when it comes to life smarts, I'm seriously lacking. It took me, quite literally, TWO DECADES to realize being a writer was something I could actually do. And it also took me TWO WHOLE DECADES to realize I could put red streaks in my hair if I wanted to.

So at age twenty-seven, I wrote my first book (unless you could the one I wrote when I was seven, which was awesome, but the world totally isn't ready for it yet). And at age thirty-six, today to be specific, I had red streaks put in my hair.

I'm a bit slow on the uptake, people, but I get there eventually.

Red holds a lot of symbolic meaning for me because I spent a lot of my life hiding. I wore baggy, bland-coloured clothes and slouched a lot. I hid in my room and I hid in my books and I hid from the telephone and parties and dances. And when I was dragged to a social event, I sat on the periphery of things and watched or, if the lighting was good enough, read a book.

In keeping with my personality, I loved muted colours. Bright colours were these other-worldly beauties meant for other people, meant to be admired from afar. I kept my distance, because surely if I wore a bright colour, people would see the wrongness in that. I'd be stared out. I'd be out of my cozy little hiding place inside of myself: visible, noticed, and of course, found wanting.

When my college roommate harassed me into buying a bright yellow sweater, I about died. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I liked how I looked in it. I loved the cheerfulness of it. And I felt strangely more when I wore it. More alive, more real, more like a "real" person. But after a few weeks of enjoying the spotlight, I tucked it into a drawer. Because it didn't feel right to like myself that much. Because I made up a crap load of excuses why that energized feeling was not for me. Because I was afraid that at any moment someone might walk up to me and shout, Soup-Nazi style, "No! No colour for you!"

Even so, there were a lot of yellow-sweater type experiences in the years that followed. A bright fuchsia top. A pair of bright red ballet flats. A dress with literal swirls of colour swooping through the fabric. But when I look in my closet I still see a lot of black and brown and grey. My hiding colours. My blend-into-the-background colours.

But there are a lot of splashes of red in there too. Because while Young Kim claimed burgundy was her favourite colour for years and years, it's really been red for a couple decades now and I love that it's starting to show. I have a red purse and red shoes, red dishes and red cookware. It might seem kind of silly, to be having such an introspective moment over all this, but red in my hair means something big to me. It means not hiding. It means embracing the part of myself that loves colour, loves loud, loves REAL.

This might not be my natural colour, but I feel more me than I ever have before.


  1. you look fabulous! and that red blends in so naturally that . . . wow! :) I doubt purple streaks would work for me and (what's left of) my hair, so I'm going to live vicariously through you! ;)

  2. I love it. And I love Red. I used to hate it... I felt like it called attention to me -- my nails, lips, etc. -- that I didn't want... but I love splashing it in, these days. A splash of red on my shoes, or socks... something random. Also... I'm not a pink girl... but I've begun splashing it in, too.

  3. I LOVE this! So empowering and beautiful and honest. As I read I realized that I often do the same thing, too choosing baggy clothes and more muted colors, and tiny earrings. It's when I'm splashier that I feel more fun, more alive. But I do always expect someone to call me on it. Maybe it's a fake it 'til you make it sort of thing, letting yourself wear the fun stuff until it does feel like you? Oh, and not that you need an opinion, but I think the red in your hair looks fantastic!