All my life I’ve wanted short, purple hair. I never told my parents, as I was sure my dad would disapprove. There was that time he made fun of me when I had black nail varnish. But he didn’t lose the plot when I came home with my nose pierced. I probably didn’t give him enough credit for being open minded. And my littlest sister has had a whole rainbow of hair colours over the years, though the closest she went to purple was dark blue. So, I probably should have been braver and just gone for it back then.
I did dye my hair though. A safe shade of blonde. I was born with shockingly blonde hair. Shocking that is, for a Turk in Turkey. But over the years it darkened to a light brown. So dying it blonde was a way of reclaiming my lost childhood. I stopped dying it when I lived in Japan though. I couldn’t read the labels on the home-dye kits and no way could I have gone into a hairdressers who I couldn’t converse with. And I haven’t dyed my hair since.
I seem to be the only female-presenting person I know who doesn’t dye their hair. I really don’t mind my grey hairs showing. Wanting to now dye my hair is nothing to do with fear of growing old. It’s just wanting to finally do something I’ve always wanted to do. Plus I’ve noticed it’s now really easy to get safe hair dyes in all sorts of vibrant colours.
But I don’t think I can. It doesn’t feel safe. Even if I never left the house, it wouldn’t feel safe. Unless I made sure nobody, even online, especially online, knew.
Because, I feel I wouldn’t be taken seriously as an autistic activist if I had short, purple hair. “Manic pixie dream girl” anyone? And especially since I read a recent comment, by an autistic person no less, saying they have recognised a pattern amongst the “outspoken” autistic advocates that they dislike, the ones they are suspicious of: they all have short, brightly coloured hair. And I have to admit, that is indeed a pattern.
And I just feel so awful. That I’m letting those kind of comments get to me, and dictate how I have my hair. Hopefully I’ll get over this silliness and just go for it one day. Perhaps for my fiftieth birthday? Who knows.
[image of a rectangle filled in with the shade of purple I would want to dye my hair.]