Pink Hair Color As a Form of Empowerment: Personal Essay
I made a bet with my 5-year-old that I would color my hair pink if the baby inside of me was a biological girl. After three solid months of morning sickness and mood swings (things I did not experience with my son), plus an instinctive feeling the little parasite invading my body was in fact, a girl, I’m happy to report my now vibrant pink head of hair — which makes me feel like an absolute rockstar.
While I now receive an instant confidence boost upon looking in the mirror, plus uplifting compliments from strangers, I didn’t do this for attention. I did it in hopes it would boost my mood . . . and to level up on the bet, of course. Being stuck in a mental rut for several months — thank you self-isolation, winter, and the onslaught of bad news in the world — I knew I needed a drastic change to get me out of my funk. I’ve done experiments like this before to prove the psychological benefits of enhancing one’s appearance, including the blazer-wearing experiment in my old office, the lipstick-wearing experiment last spring. This pink hair color though? It’s far exceeding my mood-lifting expectations. It’s actually changing my perspective on life.
“My pink hair has become a symbol of hope and resilience.”
We spend a good chunk of our days worrying. Worrying about the future (am I going to fail if I try something new?), worrying about the past (should I not have said that?), and even worrying about the present (am I not being productive enough?). Stress is an inevitable part of life. My father-in-law once told me, “Stress won’t ever go away. Sometimes it sneaks up on you, other times you can see it coming, but it never goes away.” I’ll never forget that tidbit of wisdom.
While stress and worry will always be there, the way we choose to deal with it is what matters. Responding to our feelings of worry determines a happy self (someone dealing with life’s curveballs in a healthy way) vs. a miserable self (someone complaining that nothing ever works out in their favor). My pink hair has become a symbol of hope and resilience. It’s my constant reminder of the fun and carefree person I used to be, and is giving me an exhilarating glimpse into the future me: a strong woman who promises to never let herself get sucked into the depths of depression ever again.
More than anything, my pink hair color is injecting fun into my everyday interactions. I’m flirting with my husband instead of nagging him about not taking out the trash. I’m reading books to my son in silly British accents instead of boring mommy monotone. I’m no longer second-guessing my goals as an aspiring author. I engage in activities like coloring and creating mood boards with no goal other than to enjoy the art of creating. I spend the sacred 50-minutes of my cycle classes feeling grateful I have a working and healthy body instead of worrying if my butt will be perfectly sculpted by the end of the month or not. I approach the day with optimism that things will work out instead of pessimism that they won’t.
So, while dyeing your hair pink may not be for you, finding something that inspires hope, creativity, and fun into your life certainly is. We all need reminders that life is a precious gift meant to be lived. My way may just be a little more straightforward than, say, reciting positive affirmations in your bathroom mirror. And who knows? Maybe my little girl will come out with pink hair. I would be so proud.