If you’ve met me over the course of college, you’d know I like to change my hair. One of my first articles for the CT, back when I was still discovering my love for writing and storytelling, happened to be about just that — dyeing your hair for fun, and how much it meant to me to be able to change my appearance for the sake of doing so. That hasn’t changed much — I still love the community that the little surveys I send out for group input on what I should do with my hair next brings, and I’m planning to dye it again in the summer. However, I’ve spent a bit of time with my natural brown hair again, and it’s been jarring.

Who am I when I’m not new and fresh? This question, to say the least, haunts me. I’ve developed and prioritized a persona based on innovation and bits, but it’s hard to keep up with. The person I seem to be, the one who runs around campus with infinite vigor, the one who needs to ask for a last name when any person is mentioned in order to go through the mental Rolodex of acquaintances, the one who loves to give everything to those in their surroundings, isn’t exactly me. It’s certainly not fake — I feel very much like myself in all of these moments — but there is more than meets the eye; there is exhaustion and frustration and selfishness within these moments that I purposefully ignore and let simmer. 

As a result of all of this, it’s been refreshing to let my hair grow out — to care less about how I’m seen, and to focus on what matters most to me. I don’t go out as much, I keep to myself more, and I watch my hair as, just like me, it fades and settles. 

It might be time to move forward and accept that I don’t have all the energy in the world, but it’s not an easy push. I love what I do and I do what I love, and it’s hard to accept that the costs of what I love may outweigh the benefits. (Bleach is expensive, folks!) However, it’s most important that I have the energy to retain the love I have, and if that means stepping away and moving on, so be it.

I implore you to do as I have done — think about your priorities and what they mean to you, and how they affect you as a person. Do you love it, and how does it benefit you? Don’t feel required to keep up an act and don’t feel ashamed to take a break if you need one; after all, you will be your best self (both for yourself and others) when you are legitimately well. Your hair may be fried, but you don’t have to be. You will grow and get better with time.

Tagged: identity

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