Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. These just seem like normal, simple colors, right? When I was in first through fourth grade, we came up with the acronym “ROY G. BIV” to remember the colors of the rainbow. You have your primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. You have your different shades and hues, tints and shadows, and different variations of colors depending on what end of the color wheel that you’re looking at. Bare with me if these aren’t correct art terms, but to me, they’re more than simple colors: they’re opportunities.

‘Ginger’. Derogatory term?

I’m a natural red-head. And by ‘red-head’, my hair is almost orange. All of my time on Earth, ever since I could begin to comprehend what sentences and sentence structures were, people have always told me that they were envious of my hair. “I would kill for a color like that!” Most people would shout at me, wanting to look at my locks for hours on end. In the beginning, when I was about five to ten years of age, this was fine. I liked getting complimented on my hair, because it made me feel special. To put this into perspective, my sister and I, and maybe three other kids, were the only red heads in our school. I can count on my fingers the number of red-heads I encountered during my grade school and even high school years.

But with time, as most people come to see, having a bright head of hair really doesn’t have its ups. I would get called a ‘ginger’ and told that I ‘had no soul’ and blah, blah, blah. You’ve probably seen the South Park episode where all of the ‘gingers’ are getting made fun of because of the shade of their hair. But was it a bullying term, or a sign of affection to show that I was different? Either way, I wanted to put an end to it.

Fifty Shades of Black

“Mom, I want black streaks in my hair.” I told my mom one hot day in June. I was sitting on the porch drinking a soda. “Can I do that?” My mom nodded her head in agreement, and as my neighbor proceeded to put the thick, dark chunks into my follicles, my mom chimed in and simply said:

“If you’re going to do that, you might as well just dye your entire head.”

With her permission, I had my neighbor dump the entire bottle of jet black hair dye onto my head, making my hair into a black hole, a shell of its former self. Well, that’s sort of an understatement. My hair was as dark as the night, and it didn’t even take five minutes for it to soak onto my scalp. Forty-five minutes and a darkened bathtub later, I officially had black hair- I loved it. Not everyone reacted the same as I did, but my mom simply told me to ignore them, because hey, as long as I was happy, who cares?

This was my introduction to blue black, black, natural black, and soft black. Who knew?

A Spark of Inspiration

I had black hair for about five years or so. From the very end of fifth grade, to the middle of sophomore year of high school, I was using very cheap $3 hair dye to cover my red roots every four to six weeks. There was nothing wrong with this, of course. My family and friends supported me, saying that it was a look that only I could pull off, it was empowering fashion in me. My mom was especially happy about this, seeing as we could buy 3 bottles of hair dye for under ten dollars at the store. However, as most teenagers do, I grew tired of having the same color of hair and decided to branch out.

Bleach, Dye, Repeat.

I soon found myself wanting to be like the photos of teens that I saw online- I wanted bright hair, but I didn’t want to do my entire head. So I decided to start out small: I bleached my bangs and the underneath part of my hair, let it sit for forty or so minutes, rinsed it out in the shower, blow dried it, and bleached it again. I was doing this all by myself, and only had my judgement to go off of at this point. My hair was as dry as straw, but I then continued to put the blue hair dye on my head. That was the first of my endeavors.

Blonde Bombshell

Things got a little strange after that. I went from dark hair to very bright blonde, and I noticed with each passing hair color, I would gain more confidence in myself. Not to mention that sitting with dye on my head and creating a new look for myself was probably the most fun I ever had in years. Junior year of high school, I saw myself as a cherry red head, and by senior year, I was bleached with my natural hair color showing off at my sides. I kept this hair color until graduation month, when I dyed it jet black again.

I loved being blonde. I found that I got more attention the more that I dyed my hair, and it was an empowering fashion decision,so I would just keep up with it for the sake of getting attention.

Raging Red

As I pick up the bottle of Feria in the title of Cherry Crush from my local super market, I can’t wait to put it on my head. For some reason, I’ve found that being this bright shade of red is a real confidence booster, and I always find myself coming back to it. I love being a raging red-head, and it really makes me feel more playful and outgoing.

Boosting Confidence, One Color at A Time

There’s nothing wrong with experimentation. It is an empowering fashion decision. Hell, I’ve been every color of the rainbow for the past almost nine years of my life. (It’ll be ten when I turn twenty). Paint your hair whatever color that you choose, because your confidence will soar, ladies and gentlemen. And confidence is a dish best served hot, or in my case, Cherry Crush.

Author: Samantha Casey Neeman Twitter: @ManthaCasey  Facebook: Samantha Casey Neeman

Photo by: M Yashana

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