The dark side

I'm not blonde anymore. To you that might not seem like a big deal but to me it's the start of a whole new chapter. I've been blonde my whole life - well, apart from a crazy year, aged 17, when I went pillar box red and wore army trousers and big black boots.

But now i'm brunette. I keep catching sight of myself reflected in windows and thinking, that girl's wearing my jacket, then starting when I realize this dark-haired creature is me.

People who know me say "wow" the fist time I walk into a room, and I say "what?", forgetting each time this big part of my identity has changed.

It was the endometriosis that made me do it. Everything I've read has told me to stop putting chemicals into my body. So I've thrown out all my toxic toiletries and cosmetics and changed them for natural organic stuff. Bleach on the scalp was a complete no-no too.

Having the operation was about as much fun as eating salt and vinegar crisps with a mouth ulcer, so I want to do everything I can to avoid having another one now it's all over.

So my hairdresser suggested going back to my natural colour. But my roots are so dark now - it really doesn't match up to the inner picture I have of myself.

When I imagine my future - see myself getting married or playing with my kids in the park or on the beach - the 'me' I see is blonde. It's going to take a while to reassemble.

And will it change the way others see me or react to me? I won't get random blokes shouting "rubia" (blonde) at me. No loss there. Maybe I'll even blend in a bit more with the majority of the brunette population. Maybe if I look less like a foreigner, thieves will stop trying to rob me?

"Do you like it?" My hairdresser asked me after he'd finished arranging my hair around my face. "I don't know yet," I told him, after we'd both collapsed in fits of laughter staring at this weird stranger in the mirror.

"It looks like I'm wearing a wig, it's just not me at all."

It's funny the parts of ourselves that are so deeply ingrained in our sense of self, that we feel that if we change them, we might lose who we are. I remember many years ago when I worked at a dance music magazine - I was so proud of my job and I loved it so much that I thought it defined me completely. I couldn't imagine ever doing anything else.

One day the production manager, who was some years older and wiser, left. At her leaving party she told me: "You think this job is who you are, but it's not, it's just something you do. You'll realize that in time."

I thought she was wrong but I never forgot her words. And of course she was right. I found other things that were more important. The need to travel and explore. A sense that I had to leave my secure life in London behind and discover who else I could be.

In many ways I'm still finding out. But change is good, I'm sure of that much.


  1. I have just done exactly the same thing I have been going gradually more natural over the past two years, but sadly natural now contains about 20% of grey and being a natural golden dark blonde with freckles.. it drains me. You will find that your hair looks darker as its one colour all over.. can you not have a few highlights through it? As they dont touch the scalp they are not entering the blood stream. It will wash lighter as your old colour will throw it off a little and the sun etc.. see how it looks after a few weeks.
    Its really quite liberating changing back to brunette, but I find a few lighter highlights around the face softer.
    Ps I used to work for Andrew Collinge as a hairstylist xx

  2. Marcos Perez5/30/2010 11:50 pm

    And the best thing is that your IQ will have automatically increased by 20 points.

  3. Oh Marcos, trust you to come up with the dumb blonde jokes!

    Wildernesschic - Thanks for the advice, wow it shows you're a stylist! You're right - even after a few washes I can see some of the blonde showing through. May just get some highlights put in, but still getting used to it at the mo. xxx

  4. Have to confess just highlighted mine as couldn't bare waiting any longer.. and love it .. once a blonde :)