Several years ago, I had a job where, right in the HR manual, it said “no unnatural hair color.” Which seemed odd to me, as I never went to any of the trade shows or came in contact with any of our clients. That being the case, why did it matter what color my hair was? Furthermore, being the observant type, I noticed that our top sales guy had wrist tattoos, which he never covered. He was allowed to have permanent tattoos, but I could not have anime-colored hair?
So in a fit of rebellion, I decided to put the “no unnatural hair color” rule to the test. I started off small, with maroon highlights. No response from HR. It graduated to violet purple highlights. Nope, no response. So I upped the ante to having the entire middle layer of my hair fire engine red. Still nothing by the time that job and I parted ways.
But there was a curious side effect of this. Everybody *but* HR noticed. And they all loved it. I had complete strangers demand to know who did my hair (I carry around cards for my amazing Punk!Salon for just this purpose*). For once, I was noticed not for something I wanted people to ignore, but for something I wanted them to see.
It may seem shallow and vain to put giant fuchsia streaks in my hair (that’s what I have right now). It may seem like I’m demanding attention. And, at some level, that’s true. But it’s more than that.
It’s my way of saying “Hey, notice me! But notice me for something other than that disability thing! Notice me for something I want to show to the world!”
I want to be That Girl With the Anime Hair. Because that girl? Is more than just a disability.
*Salon Pop, in Long Beach, Calif.