Why I Will Never Dye My Hair Again. Ever.

…maybe.

Like many women I have a long history of dying my hair.  For me it started in the 10th grade when for Christmas I got a box of bleach and a pot of Manic Panic’s Purple Haze.

It went horribly.

So I fixed it like any total noob would by dyeing it allll black.. which also went horribly.  I am both saddened and incredibly grateful that I don’t have any pictures of this time.  They exist.  This was at Christmas, remember, so there are photos somewhere in my parents basement of me under the Christmas tree looking like a singed Fraggle.  But they will never see the light of day.  Not as long as I’m breathing.  This consideration for my appearance and what others would think of it was not something I possessed while I was in high school.  Or I did, but my idea of style was.. lets say.. unique.

Another thing that happened is I shaved my head.  I don’t remember if this was because of the hair dye debacle or an unrelated-though-comparably-misguided whim (I’m a big fan of those.)  With short hair it is much easier to commit to a non-traditional colour because if it really doesn’t work you’ve only ruined two inches of tress and you can just chop it off again!  So this lead to a rather impressive cycle of dyeing and chopping that continued for the better part of the next decade.  I cycled through the Manic Panic rainbow usually landing back on some form of purple (I think it brings out my eyes).  For my junior prom my hair was bright violet.  For senior it was fire engine red.  In college it was bubble gum pink.  And in between I would try “regular” hair colours as well, the most successful being ginger and the least being blonde.  I do not a pretty blonde make.

I’d like to say it was out of consideration for my appearance and health that I came to my senses and finally broke this cycle.  The dry frizziness from home bleaching, the endless battle of trimming the completely baked ends while trying to maintain the roots, or not trying and looking like a radioactive skunk.  Not to mention the mess of chemicals I’d been wearing like a toque and the noxious fumes breathed in during the process.

But really it was just too expensive and time consuming and I was (am) lazy and broke.

So for the last few years I have been dye free.  I still cut it myself (I recommend this method) but as happens in any crisis, I’ve been feeling the need to remake myself in an attempt to better myself and therefore my situation.  I can’t cut it now because I am really serious this time about growing it out (really!  I mean it!)  And so I’ve been strolling down the dye aisle with long wistful looks at those little boxed promises of a better, more beautiful me imagining what could be.  I wouldn’t do anything extreme either, I’m looking for a job and most employers frown on electric blue bangs.  Just maybe something a little lighter and gingerier than my natural dark chestnut.

But I’ve discovered a new reason to not dye my hair.

I’ve found some grays.

What the fuck, you say?  Isn’t that usually the time women want to start dyeing their hair?  You have to hide those!  Someone might think you’re not 22 anymore!  Well, guess what internets?  I’m not.  And I am so ok with that.  I have slogged through the trends and sexist media and the litany of magazine how-to-look-like-someone-you-aren’t-because-they’re-better-than-the-real-you tutorials.   I’m exhausted and it hasn’t gotten me anything.

I love my little gray hairs.  They are so shiny and pretty.  They reflect light like tiny prisms.

And they aren’t really gray, but completely devoid of colour; empty.  It’s a hopeful thing, like they have the potential to be any colour they wanted.

I’m not superstitious, not in any real way*, but I am convinced that I need to treat my little silver strands with love and respect.  They worked hard to get here.  I worked hard to get here.

I’m fascinated by this idea that signs of age are somehow signs of weakness and should be hidden, destroyed or manipulated by any means.  You may have seen this hair colour commercial.  The husband is talking about his wife of 15 years and how he’s slowly turning into the crypt keeper and somehow she magically stays looking like his wife.

Because she dyes her hair.

Because if she didn’t he would see those gray hairs probably brought on by living with this dude whose priorities are so skewed he thinks looking your age is some horrifying sin and not recognize the woman he married.  How is looking your age not looking like yourself?  Poor Kate.  Her husband only goes for 20 year olds.  This worked great for her when she was 20, but now that she’s 35 she’s doomed to watch him stray from her ever-sagging bosom into the pert, cushiony fun-bags of a woman almost half her age.  Unless she hides all signs of the presumably happy and meaningful decade and a half they’ve devoted to each other.  The end kills me: “I don’t know all her secrets, but I do know Kate’s more beautiful now than the day I married her.”  BECAUSE SHE DYES HER HAIR.  The message is clear; unless you want your guy to lose interest in your old lady self you’d better stop aging.  Or do a really good job of pretending to.

I’m not saying no one should dye their hair.  It’s a way to express yourself like any part of your appearance and I develop fierce if fleeting crushes on people I pass with wildly awesome hair, natural or engineered.  I just hope people do it for the right reason: because it helps to express your true self, not what others expect you to be.

And while my true self may always be a bit of a Fraggle, she’s a Fraggle with grays.

*When walking down stairs I always, always slap the ceiling as I pass under it.  A holdover from when I was little and monsters hid in the dark living room doorway at the bottom of the stairs and doing this would scare and confuse them.  Also works on basement monsters.

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Surviving Unemployment

(as based on my most recent, tragic, and completely unfair experiences)

Part 1 (of hopefully a one part series)

Getting Over the Shock

So you’ve lost your job.  “Lost” is a stupid word, it’s probably still there, just no longer in your possession.  In my case I was “dismissed”.  This is what they do when you haven’t done anything wrong but they don’t really like you.

“Not a good fit for the company.”

That’s legal in Canada.  Awesome…

I’m not bitter.  (that’s a lie *mini rant* I’m not saying I was a perfect fit, what kills me is there was no warning.  I was there for 13 months with no verbal, written or smoke-signal indication that they were unhappy with, what?  My work?  My attitude?  They never told me what part “didn’t fit” and they never gave me a chance to do better or explain why I might be a certain way which *further mini rant* makes me think it was because I wasn’t taking all the forced overtime they were expecting of everyone which I am well within my rights to refuse.  I had started saying I couldn’t stay late for yet another Friday night and POOF no longer a good fit.) … (Asshats.)

Where was I?  Oh yes – if, like me, this comes to you straight out of the big bright blue you’re going to need some sort of “adjustment period” to deal with your new-found lack of vocation and income.  Not to mention the hit to your confidence*.  Some suggestions for this:

  • A girls/guys night where you enlist all your top mates to pump up your self-esteem, share some well-deserved pitchers and be sounding boards for your frustration and incredulity allowing you to blow off steam in perfectly healthy, dance-y ways.
  • A weekend of meditation and soul searching in which you ask yourself the deep, hard, mature questions: perhaps you’re not in the right profession for your skill set?  Has this freed you to pursue a dream you didn’t have time to commit to before?  Is this somehow a blessing in disguise?
  • Drink a 12 pack and sleep for 3 days only waking to marathon through Weeds and feed the cat.

…I opted for the latter.

And I encourage you to as well.  Wallowing is good.  Look, scientists have proved it!  Turns out it’s not really “wallowing” it’s “ruminating”, your brain is actually shutting out the world to let you work out whatever big fat problem caused you to tumble into depression (the human brain is neat!)  The trick with this one is to not let it go on very long, or, as in my case, break it up a bit.  After the first three days I had a good kick of motivation and fixed up my resume, ate something that wasn’t a cookie and bathed.  And the next day I cried into some Ben and Jerry’s and watched Titanic.  But the day after THAT I handed out some of those resumes.  So, you know… I’m getting there.

Tips on resumes: don’t print them until your English major sister proof reads them and sends back the completely revised and way better copy.  I wasted $2.15 that I can no longer afford.  Moral: get someone to look at it; if you can’t find someone with a professional writing degree, find a manager of something who has experience sifting through resumes.  They know what looks good.

Now the next part will mostly apply to those seeking work in smaller businesses (…I guess most of this will only apply to same) but if you have a very specific job you would like, don’t wait for it to be listed.  Cold call.  It is very true in my line that employers often do not advertise.  They find people through word of mouth and luck.  Every job I’ve had has come from showing up, asking to speak to the owner directly and shaking their hand.  First impressions all the way.  It is therefore very important that you finish your wallowing before attempting this step.  While you may be able to make yourself look put together, if you haven’t wrapped your head around why you are no longer at your most recent relevant experience and reference you run the risk of panicking and saying in the sketchiest way possible “Yeeaa…. I was laid off….”  Like I did.  To my biggest hope.  (Tip: to be a total champ, throw in a shifty eye dart.  …I fuckin nailed it…)

Always follow up.  Even if you tank it.  Write a non-sketchy email saying how nice it was to meet them and show them how non-sketchy you actually are.  Include a reference from your most recent.. uh.. reference and some awesome pictures of your work (if that applies).  Second impressions all the way.

*One thing I forgot to mention at the beginning.  Right at the beginning, when you first get home from that last day you didn’t know was going to be your last day and you can let out those tears you were trying desperately to not let fall while walking down the street at 2 in the afternoon that would probably make people think you had just come from a matinee screening of Steel Magnolias or suffered some kind of mental collapse (which maybe you had), call your mom.  Or your dad, sister, husband, best friend.  Call the most biased person you know.  Because you are going to feel like poop.  Like lost and confused poop.  And nothing cheers you up quite like hearing your own sweet mother say: “Fuck em.  They don’t deserve you.”

And if all else fails hug a cat.  They have toes like beans!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Surviving a Stalled Income When Your Cat Already Eats Better Than You.

Look at those little bean toes!

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A Short Story

I decided to see one of my all time favourite movies today in IMAX 3D. I paid $17 for the ticket alone which, let’s be honest, I would happily pay to see it in theatres in regular format. It’s that damn good.

I sat beside two happy young men who were chattering along before the movie started and a little bit into the credits. Eventually they quieted and I watched in bliss as the thumping theme song led us on into my happy place. Until, that is, the first dinosaur appeared. This they found quite shocking and both exclaimed “Oh shit!” followed by some snorting laughter. It’s a shocking beginning, I’ll give you that. It wasn’t long however before it became clear to me that these gentlemen were entirely unaware of the plot of this movie as they continued to be startled every time a dinosaur entered a scene and gave out an “oh shit!” or “fuck!” followed by more nervous laughter.

Every. Damn. Time.

I could tell by the shifting in seats of my fellow movie goers that I wasn’t the only one perturbed by this behaviour. It wasn’t until the scene where Tim tells his “Doyouthinkhesaurus” joke and one guy replied with a dry “Haha. Fuck off.” that I really felt something should be done.

I took off my 3D glasses and turned to the duo to ask them to please keep it down so others could enjoy the movie. Unfortunately by that point I was filled with such apoplectic rage that all that came out was an incoherent scream. I then rolled up my Tribute magazine and killed them both like Jason Fucking Bourne.

The theatre was silent. Then a great cheer erupted; hands clapped my back and mothers wept. The manager came up to me and shook my hand offering me a lifetime of free movies at any Cineplex Odeon theatre I liked.  Once calm was restored I sat and watched the rest of one of my all time favourite movies with a great satisfaction in my heart, knowing I had made the world a better place.

The End.

(original post date on facebook April 14th. But I liked it, so I’m repeating it here.)

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