I am a blonde. I was born blonde and have been blonde 99.9% of my life. I haven't always been proud of being a blonde. I haven't always wanted to be a blonde but it is now and most likely will forever be part of my identity. I didn't choose for it to become part of my identity but it happened, I have always longingly looked at ladies with deep brown hair but now realize that it is not me and it never will be. I have FINALLY accepted that.
My issues with being blonde started probably when I was 13. Mostly due to the fact that my hair went from light blonde to dark blonde with the onset of puberty. This was a hard thing to experience along with all the crazy things happening at that time. I no longer liked my hair color and it was one of the contributing factors of losing my confidence. This is when I started to envy girls with darker hair, their hair was just so beautiful and not ashy and flat like mine had become. I got over this a little once I turned 14 and started to gain some of my confidence back and became a smidge more comfortable in my skin again. Then right before I started high school I got HIGHLIGHTS! which at the time was a MIRACLE to me. I enjoyed the sunny streaks running through my dark blonde hair. This is when being blonde became less of a physical issue for me but started to effect me emotionally.
High school. I can't complain too much about high school. I had a solid group of friends played sports, had a few jobs, got decent grades and didn't get in too much trouble. I did however struggle with self esteem most of it revolving around my self worth, my abilities and talents and not being SMART. This largely was my own issue, probably INCREASED by complacent teachers and catapulted by my friends (or frenemies) unkind words and ridicule revolving around my intelligence and being blonde.
In college I found my footing, found my confidence (thanks babe) and realized I was INTELLEGENT and had a lot of offer this world. Internal monologue "REALLY.....I'm in college... getting good grades... have a social life..... and have an internship!!" The high school stuff really made me push to NEVER allow myself to be uneducated or to EVER believe someone when they questioned my smarts EVER again. At this point I was owning being a blonde but I STILL had some misconceptions, I felt that in order to be "professional" and to be taken "seriously" I couldn't have LONG BLONDE hair. So I mostly kept my hair short while I was working. Don't get me wrong I LOVED my short hair but I definitely cut it and kept it short for the wrong reasons. Its funny since staying at home with my kids and no longer being in a traditional "work" environment and through some amazing volunteer opportunities, unsolicited job offers, and this blog, I have realized being perceived as a professional and intelligent really has nothing to do with your hair color or length for that matter. It’s really about how you present yourself and the ability, drive and integrity that goes with it. My hair is now longer and its staying for awhile (it has taken 3 years)!
I now realize that my optimism, combine with my giggly personality and blonde hair was misinterpreted as stupidity. I have NEVER been stupid but I have ALWAYS been optimistic to a fault, I have NEVER been dumb but I have ALWAYS been happy (at times obnoxiously), I have NEVER been ditsy but I have ALWAYS been blonde.
I have never truly realized that a significant part of my personal identity is being blonde until recently when I dyed my hair darker. I have done this a two other times in the past, with the same results. I didn't HATE it, it didn't look AWFUL but it wasn't me, the me I see when I'm NOT looking in a mirror. I realized when I visualize myself it is as a blonde. For me it is important to see in the mirror who I see in my head, she happens to be blonde. I identify with it and NOW after all this time I finally accept it and have lots of LOVE for my dark ashy blonde hair that with a little bleach and a few highlights is sunny, warm, playful, joyful and a whole lot of ME!
Lets be honest, at least I got here before my ashy blonde hair is replaced with ashy gray hair! It's only a matter of time, I found my first gray a few months ago and once the gray starts it happens pretty fast with the women in my family... at this time I will graduate from highlights to hair dye!
I am also VERY glad I am armed with this experience and discovery because with our gene cocktail our kids have zero chance of coming out at anything other than blonde. Even though being blonde was my own self-love issue it may not be theirs. However if it is, I WILL be ARMED and EQUIPPED to make sure that they are prepared to face the stereotype and politely smash it to smithereens! Regardless of what confidence issues may creep up in their lives, I hope that we can show our children God’s love and acceptance and how to let their LIGHT SHINE by instilling in them true self-LOVE and self-WORTH! I believe singing and dancing the kitchen the moment we hear this song is the foundation of doing just that. It is our current anthem!
Have you had any self-realizations about your own personal identity? Do you have any part of your identity physical or otherwise that you've struggled with in the past but now own it? Do you feel these experiences will help you be a better parent and/or person?
That's my Shiny ~