Dye Job

When I was in 7th grade my science teacher called my parents to let them know he was concerned about how I was dressing.  "Did they know my sweaters were too big and that I had a Nirvana T-shirt?"  "And that if I kept it up I'd be banished to hell because heaven only accepts good little girls who wear twinsets and pearls thank you very much."

Ok, so I added that last part.  But I'm sure I'm not too far off, as we all know black lipstick and flannel are gateway drugs that lead to a life of sin and whoredom.  And heaven forbid altering your body in any way.  So, when Brian (also known as the reason I'm now "in a relationship" on Fb, and yes I just threw up in my mouth, and yes Dara I don't have a nickname for him) announced that he was dying his hair blue my breath caught in my throat.

Blue?  Blue hair?

Flashback to 1998.  The night before our annual church play.  Chrissy Walter's bathroom.  One jar of Manic Panic Purple Haze.

You can guess how well that went over.  Earned me a year long spot on the prayer list.  And the silent treatment from my mom for a week, "because what would everyone think?!?"

At the time I remember thinking, "Why is everyone getting their panties in a wad about this?  It's only hair.  It'll grow out.  What's the big deal?"

But last Sunday in Brian's bathroom I had my mother's thoughts, "What will everyone think?  About him?  About me?  About us?"

Because we don't look like the couples I was brought up to admire.  We're not clean shaven and traditional.  Nary a stitch of khaki can be found in our closets.  And I'm fairly certain that man has no idea what a button-up is much less a real tie-it-yourself bow tie (although he does rock the hell out of a fedora).

I teach yoga.  He works at the hill.  We both have tattoos and piercings.  Things I was taught were a fad.  Something kids did and grew out of once they had rebelled enough.

But there we were dying his hair like it was 1998.   As it turned from brown, to blonde, to a shocking shade of blue I thought back to Samson's story about the jacket that just fits.  And I realized I was taught (and not just by my family, so please don't think this is another it's all their fault post, but by society, and culture, and the tiny town I grew up in) that there are more acceptable jackets than others.  That your jacket must look a certain way.  Must cost a specific amount.  Who cares if the thing actually fits.  The important part is that you look good wearing it.

And how pray tell was I going to look good wearing a boyfriend with blue hair?  I may be out West but I'm still just Southern enough to care.  To have images of polos and boat shoes as being what "together forever" wears.  What adult, stable, real relationships look like.

So when he asked me if I liked it, I blurted out something like, "No, I don't, why don't you grow up already are you just going to sit around and work at the hill forever blue hair isn't just blue hair and could you please wear something besides T-shirts all the time you're so immature gah."

Being the solid mountain man he is, he wasn't the least bit fazed by my lengthy response to his simple question.  He sweetly listened to me overanalyze the meaning of Panic Manic.  Reassured me.  Comforted me.  Said my opinion mattered.  That I wasn't crazy.  That I deserved adult, stable, and real whatever that looked like to me.

And in that moment I knew Samson was right in a whole new way.  It's not the color, or the size, or the style of the jacket.  It's the fit.  How it feels.  Because when a jacket fits.  When you love it.  Really love it.  You wear it with everything whether it matches or not.  Whether it's faded or torn or says something stupid (or dyes its hair blue).

You keep it on because it's your favorite jacket and you don't really care how it looks.  And people may make fun of you.  They may judge you.  They may laugh.  You may want to take it off at times because it can be hard, and hot, and annoying, and others look so much more inviting.  But you don't.  Because it fits and it's yours and you love it.

And the rest of that stuff.  That size and shape and color and what will everyone else think and why did you do that.  That's manifestations of ego.  Of lack and concern and worry and separation.  And there's really no room for any of that when your jacket fits.

Plus, I'm living proof that stupid decisions eventually do grow out.


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