Thursday, November 29, 2012

Risks, life, and pink hair.

Last night, I dyed my hair back.

It was time. I loved having pink hair, but the last two months or so I began to get real sick of strangers asking me about it. When I go out to run errands, I enjoy being left alone. It may be that I was an only child until I was 8, it may be that I get caught up in my own thoughts, I don't know. I venture out with as much enthusiasm as a reclusive silent film star living in the talkie age; I want to get what I need so I can return to my own little world as soon as possible. The last couple of months any time I got into line and someone exclaimed, "OH, YOU HAVE PINK HAIR, WHAT DID YOU USE, HOW LONG DOES IT LAST--" I've had violent fantasies of tearing it all out right in front of them, laughing like a maniac, shrieking "NOW IT'S YOURS TAKE IT WITH YOU."

Hey, pregnancy hormones are a roller coaster.

And so, last night after the 900th person (875 of them dudes between the ages of 45-60) asked about my hair, I politely bowed out of line and headed to the hair color aisle to find the shade closest to my locks.

Ahhhhhhh. That's better!

Now, some folks will remember when I dyed my hair cotton candy pink and all hell broke loose back home in New England. For days I faced some pretty heavy criticism, and people said some outright mean things. (Many folks read the mean things and emailed me their sympathies, and I still appreciate that). On the west coast, and for my husband, Mom, and sister, it was my hair and my decision. On the east coast, clearly I'd gone too far and was heading for ruin. AND JUST WHO IS THIS 'JEM' YOU'VE BEEN HANGING OUT WITH THAT'S GOT YOU WANTING PINK HAIR?

Over and over again my reaction was, "I love my natural hair color. And I'll go back to it when I'm sick of pink. I wanted a change, because I thought it would be fun."


Well, it's seven months later....

This is me a week before I dyed my hair pink.

And me this morning...
...Pretty darn close, huh?

Whenever you take a risk, you'll be immediately pounced on by a crowd of people clamoring about why it's going to blow up in your face. The last three years have been brought to me by whatever the heck letter that stands for. When I was moving out west to live with Ryan, he was a homicidal maniac that was going to chop me into bits. When I was going to pursue illustrating full time, I was about to starve to death. When Ryan was going to put his time into a job without health benefits for a year, we were bound to get into a car accident. When I dyed my hair pink, it was a permanent decision that could never be undone. Also, all of my hair was going to fall out. Plus, it was going to poison my insides. And I looked hideous.

Okay, Henny Pennies, take it easy.

First of all, I will never look hideous.

Secondly, I have learned that if you want an interesting life, a fulfilling life, a life you can call your own, you've got to mold it a little and that might mean taking some risks. I played it very safe for a long time, and I took more missteps then than I ever did once I started edging out onto a limb here and there. I still don't take stupid risks. Being a lifetime teetotaler, I've never tried drugs. (Heck, I've never tried alcohol, not even a beer). A lot of people have teased me for that, saying I was being a baby, I was too afraid to try new experiences. Some of them went on to handle themselves just fine. Some of them are one step away from a 12 step program.

(The first step is admitting you have a problem).

So, no, I'm still not for stupid risks. However, I think that when the stakes are high: love, following a dream, running away from waking up every day miserable (WHY NOT JOIN THE CIRCUS); that's the time to take a risk. That's when you learn a lot about yourself, your capabilities, and the people around you. I think you get stronger from those risks, and I think for the most part, life rewards those risks. At the very worst, you fail at something. Really, it's not that bad. If it was a risk that was worth it, that could have changed everything for the better, at least you tried.

My husband taught me a lot of this through his life, and the chances he has taken for his happiness and his career. They're inspiring. He's one of the bravest people I know, given the bold moves he made to get where he is now, and how young he was when he started making them. He was 17 when he struck out on his own, moving thousands of miles away from home to follow a career in video games and art.

So, when you think about it, pink hair isn't really
that big of a f*+4ing deal, now is it?

My pink hair was nothing like that, it was just a silly dye job that was a blast for a few months. Looking at my before and after pictures though, and seeing really nothing change, got me thinking this morning about risk and experience and enjoying life and I wanted to share. Don't listen to the crowd of land lovers telling you monsters are lurking at the edge of the world. Usually they haven't been to the edge of the world to see that it's actually just round and you can return to where you started anytime you want.

So, farewell, pink hair! Here's a look back. I'll miss it, it was fun!

The first day, brandy-new!


Cotton Candy!!!

Fading to a light pink.

This was my favorite version, when I redyed
it myself and left a 'Rogue streak'.



$9 foam curlers, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 

Animal Hot Pink!

And some women, women I know and women talking to me in stores, would say "You're so lucky your husband let you do that!" which struck me as awful.


And so now my hair is back to the way it was, and nothing much has changed.


But that's a happy change!

So, there you have it! My hair didn't fall out, break off, or melt away. My body is healthy (I want to stress again: my doctor assured me dyeing my hair is perfectly safe while pregnant, or I would not have). I look exactly how I did before I dyed my hair--the only difference is, I had a lot of fun and I can say I did that now.

There has to be something--something--you want to say that about! So, go do it! As long as it's not like, a stupid risk, like robbing a bank. Don't rob a bank. Do start a small business or ask that one guy out or go on an impromptu road trip to Canada. Get a pet iguana, name him Steve.

All those things you want to do, go do them, because that's the only way anything fun happens. All the rotten stuff? That's what the world hands you. The cool stuff? Those are the choices you make. The more choices you make, the more you control your life, the more cool stuff will happen, and before you know it, that cool stuff outnumbers the rotten stuff 10:1.

Take it from me, kids! Is your shower curtain this cool?


  1. I'm from the East Coast and live on the West Coast (JUST LIKE YOU OMG!) and I love you no matter how you choose to color your hair or make any other decisions because that's what friends (and family) are for.

    Also, I've always wanted to ask: Do you do your eye makeup like that with the dark line under your eyes or are your eyes just like that? It's so consistent! Not a complaint, by the way.

  2. Thank you, Brit! That's how I feel friendship should be, because if we all made the same decisions life would get pretty boring very quickly. It's nice to be like, "and then my friend changed what they looked like for a little while, because it was their decision. And they're my friend and I'm a grown up and understand that doesn't change who they are--" Right??

    I do the make up lines every morning by hand, since I was 15. I draw them with eyeliner, and then smudge them with black eye shadow so they stay. I was really into classic rock and the band 'The Who' as a kid (heck, I still am) and my eye make up began when I was trying to give myself the smokey 1960's "mod" eyes. At times folks have suggested I get it permanently tattooed on, but I enjoy the ritual of making up and I love Halloween and changing my mind too much to make anything like that everlasting. (Sure, I've done it for 15 years, but what if I want to go blue someday?) Plus, more than that the idea of a tattoo needle near my eyes is SO HORRIFYING, lol!!!

  3. I love everything about this blog post. especially everything you say about taking risks. I have a habit of instantly spinning "risky" behavior I'm being called out on into a lesson on "strong choices". Most people don't make them no matter how much they want to - they settle, they wait, they fear "what ifs" too much. Most people prioritize comfort over inspiration, desire, passion, adventure, love, art etc...

    Cheers to people who make strong choices. (To me it involves risk, but isn't comprised of it, that's the difference.)

    Hair I've had btw, chopped very very short, a bob, the long in the front short in the back 90's riot grrrl things, many shades of red, purple, orange, blond, currently black and considering having my black fade to some teal? We'll see when I find a job what's "allowed".

  4. Reminds me of when I went blonde - many moons ago! Blondes really do have more fun! Had to revert back, though, before I married, because it was too costly to keep up!

    Now - it's high time this happened to your blog! Just to make your day (I hope) I've nominated you for The Liebster Blog Award - there's work involved I have to say, but hopefully, you'll be rewarded by more Followers and the like: Read all about the rest of it on my blog at

    Please answer the following 11 questions

    (1) Got your Christmas cards done yet?
    (2) What do you hate most in life?
    (3) Now the opposite - the best thing for you?
    (4) Dogs, Cats or Another Animal?
    (5) Favourite Carol?
    (6) Apart from Wallmart, where do you shop?
    (7) Your favourite food?
    (8) Favourite colour?
    (9) New Year’s resolution yet?
    (10) Christmas this year: home or away?
    (11) New Year wish?

    Then choose 11 bloggers already follow who have less than 200 Followers and let them know, as I am doing here, what you've been up to!

    It worked for me! Hope it will for you too!

    Happy Christmas and a Great New Year! Isobel


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