Pink Out Loud

photo by Dawn Sanborn Photography

Yesterday I wrote Hair Raising, about no less than having pink hair in today’s world. Today I continue some of those thoughts, remembering a scene about ten years ago when my hair was quite long (and red) and I had it back in a ponytail. The manager where I worked walked by with scissors, and joked and said, “What would you do if I just snipped off your entire ponytail?”

I told him, “I’d go to the salon and get a really fun cut and go platinum.” My manager seemed surprised that I wouldn’t cry over my hair. Reading his face, I said, “It’s only hair.” And as he walked out of the room, I said, “Oh, and I’d send you the salon bill.” (We laughed about that.)

Pink, for me, happened about four years ago after a long time feeling like I was living in a shadow and needed a term of living out loud, so to speak. (And truth be told, my hair is a good bit grey, naturally. Not distinctive, wise streaks of grey, but random, wiry old-looking grey. It’s been that way since high school.)

As a writer, I meet a lot of people and I’m asked a lot of things, including questions about my currently-blonde-with-a-streak-of-pink hair. After a while, you get to know who is just being curious and isn’t sure how to ask, and who is trying to pass judgment. I welcome questions from both sides, really. It’s taken a long time to realize that I’m happy, and I like to think that makes me approachable. I don’t care for the negativity, of course, but I’m not bothered to the point that I’d bow to poor opinions or change myself for them.

Above all, my hair is something that I can help (if I wanted to bother), unlike a birthmark or a limp or a scar that others could scrutinize, because, let’s face it, in life we take a lot of flack. A hairstyle, a favorite jacket, curve-enhancing jeans, or red lipstick, these things are like armor that we put on to face the day. They don’t make us edgy, tough, or even vulnerable underneath. They make us people who tried to be prepared. They make us people about to do something difficult and these little tokens are our safety nets. They make us, get ready for this, people on the verge of changing the world, because, from calling a meeting with the boss and asking for that raise to demanding safer schools and better lunches to truly going headfirst after what we deserve, the armor we choose makes a difference, and yes, a haircut or a best jacket can do all that and even provide that important first layer of protection from criticism. There’s much to be done. So power up.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at