Saturday, August 31, 2013

Taking Back My Body: Faking It.

"Taking Back My Body," is the title of a series of posts in which I will discuss strategies for overcoming negative body thoughts, for getting past failure, for finding empowerment in other women, etc. I'm doing this as much for myself as I am for any of you that may struggle with these same thoughts or feelings. I think it's about damn time we take back our bodies and our thoughts. Check back every Friday over the next several weeks for new posts in this series.

For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram, you may not know that I dyed my hair purple. I was going for a light lilac color that would easily fade back into my platinum hair, but it didn't quite work out like I'd expected. To no fault of my hairdresser and best friend, I chose a more vibrant purple which turned my hair dark violet and indigo. I got home, looked at myself in the mirror and began crying. Thoughts came crashing down on me like, "Why did I make the mistake of thinking my hair needed to change again? That platinum was so pretty!" and "I look so ugly! Why am I always trying to ruin myself?!" Not gonna lie, guys. Things got ugly. I called Karl, sobbing and he ended up skipping his first night of class to console me. 

Since then, I've done some at-home lightening and it's gotten lighter with each wash, but I was so nervous to go back to school this past Monday. I prefer to go unnoticed, to not draw attention to myself. Why on earth did I decide on something so vibrant? All day, people were staring at me. I felt incredibly uncomfortable. More and more bad thoughts crept in. I felt like a weirdo and had to hold back tears all day. 

At one point that day, things took a change. Somewhere inside I decided to take charge and rather than tell people the purple hair was a lapse in judgement, I decided to pretend it was all intentional. I decided to be a girl that is bold and confident and knows she looks damn good in any hair color. Did I really believe that? Not so much, but I had the choice of wallowing in my own self-pity all day, and receiving pity from others, or not caring what other people thought and focus on my schoolwork instead of my hair.

My best friend and I at her baby shower. This is about at the "I'm embracing this" point.

All of a sudden, once I made that change, people started coming up to me to tell me how much they loved my purple hair. Complete strangers would cross the train platform just to tell me how beautiful I looked. I'd like to say I'm not one of those people who takes stock in what other people think, but unfortunately I am. It's one of my greatest weaknesses. As a result of my own "faking it," others noticed that confidence and helped bolster it even more. I've been so touched by the kindness of both my friends, and total strangers who let me know that my hair is lovely, or that it suits my personality perfectly. 

Over the last week, I've noticed a change in myself. Yes, I'm accepting of my hair color, but it's more than that. I branched out and bought those turquoise earrings that I thought would be too bold, or too cool for me. I've finally begun feeling like the ever-ambiguous "cool girl" that I've always wanted to be. Will purple hair keep me feeling this confident forever? Probably not. Unfortunately, confidence takes constant work and I'm often at the end of a losing battle, but occasionally I find that if I perform that old adage, "Fake it till you make it," I do have those glimmering spots of hope and acceptance. 

Overall, even on our worst body days, it's important to keep on trying. Don't give in to the negative thoughts. Throw yourself into school or work or your kids. Pick something about yourself that you love and focus on that, or if you're brave, focus on something you hate and change your mind's rhetoric about it until it becomes something you're at peace with, or may even love.  It's never easy, but eventually pretending you have confidence, will lead to confidence. No, it's not a panacea, but it will help, even on the hardest days when you feel like nothing fits right or when you feel imperfect. 

So keep on faking it! Keep on fighting the hard fight! We can all do this together.

Please tell me, have you had any success stories related to faking it? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


Valerie said...

What a great post! I'm all about faking it till you make it. In training dogs, I often tell owners who aren't feeling so confident the same thing, and when they follow directions it's amazing how well their dogs respond.

Oh, and I LOVE your purple hair. It definitely suits your skin tone.

Larissa said...

Love it! And you!


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