I mentioned back here how I was getting braver on the mats.
I couldn’t have predicted it, but the combination of gruelling training pace and endless supply of arse-kicking world champions is strangely liberating. Pretty soon you realise that there’s a place beyond “it’s over” (whether for hydration, exhaustion or depression reasons), a place where you carry on anyway. God knows it’s not skilled or pretty, but it definitely exists, and in a weird way I suspect it might be good for you.
And it’s an attitude that’s extended beyond the gym.
In typical chicken and egg fashion, it’s impossible to tell whether the training, or the chucking everything away and travelling across the planet to do it, kicked off the change, but I’m learning not to fall at the first hurdle. The inclination to chuck plans and schemes into the bin as soon as someone says “but wouldn’t that (insert concern here)…” is still very much ingrained, but I’m starting to take a step back, weigh up the options, and in a lot of cases, find a way around it. Or just do it anyway.
And post-tattoo, this mid-life rebellion has lead me straight to the bleach bottle.
For those that don’t know me personally, I’ve always been a dark creature. By birth brunette, I had a brief wash-in plum phase in my twenties, and have spent the last decade or so with jet black locks. Personality-wise too, I’ve proudly erred away from traditional “girly” and towards the alternative.
So, in no particular order, here are the reasons I shouldn’t go blonde:
1) I have so much black dye in my hair, it’s going to take several bleaching sessions to get it up to the colour I want it (ideally platinum, but will settle for that light “inside of a banana” colour they so rave about on hair websites.)
2) During that process, my hair could go dark red, bright orange, and dark blonde, none of which are colours that I aspire to.
3) It will totally fry the condition and my bank balance.
4) Having big, heavy boys, and smaller, technical girls, hang off my head in BJJ isn’t going to help that.
5) Nothing in my makeup/wardrobe/demeanor matches a sunny yellow-headed type.
So, those are the reasons why not to. Weighing up the “for” options:
1) Ever since I wore a light wig at a fancy dress party, and boys were especially nice to me for 15 minutes, I’ve wondered if the blonder types really do have more fun.
2) In addition, I have an instant crush on anyone rocking the punky blonde thing.
3) Whilst not cheap, it is substantially cheaper to go to the hairdressers repeatedly in California than in London.
4) Andy and an entire school-full of BJJ folk are the only people who will see me whilst I’m transitioning. No rocking up at the office with ever-changing fuzz on my barnet.
5) I’m going grey anyway, so “natural” isn’t really an option anymore.
A more sensible person would probably have seen a bit of shakiness in some of the “pros” but heck, sensible people don’t generally jet off around the world on a whim. Bring on the peroxide.
So far, I have spent about 8 hours in the hairdressers (4.5 hours the first time, 3.5 hours the second). I have had several turkeys’ worth of tinfoil layered all over my head in varying different patterns. I somehow skipped the deep red phase, but landed slap bang in carrot orange territory. And I am possibly paying for my hairdresser’s soon-to-be-born child to go through college.
The results? Well, the first time I had it done, I jumped every time I saw myself in a mirror. Despite living in the land of the blondes, I still feel like I’m subconsciously shouting “look at me, look at me” just by walking down the street. After a lifetime in the shade, the bright side is a bit of a shock to the system. And I’m now eying those neon items in my wardrobe with caution.
There’s one more bleaching session to go, next Friday. Before then, I need to get some moisture back into my frazzled hair – which means most evenings are spent plastered in goo and residing under a shower cap (lucky Andy).
Any initial shyness at unveiling a whole new hair colour twice at the gym will soon be overruled by my needing to wear a lycra swimming hat during sparring – at best, my hair ends up looking like this post-training, at worst it’s been shedding all over the mat.
Some days I love it, some days it bugs the hell out of me, but this trip is all about getting braver and breaking free of some of those “I can’t possibly…” patterns.
I’ll keep you updated.