A change will do you good

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

When was the last time you changed your look? I’m not talking about experimenting with a different color lipstick…I mean, REALLY switched things up. I bet the majority of you are scratching your head. A long time, huh?

About 10 years ago, it was forced upon me. I went to a new salon for a trim on my shoulder length hair and emerged an hour later with a Carol Brady-ish shag. NOT a good day. After crying about it for a few hours, I went to a different stylist and had it chopped to the shortest layer…which was about an inch above my chin.

Surprisingly, I received a ton of compliments on my “new style”. I never would have had the courage to make such a drastic change on my own. But, for pete’s sake, it’s only hair. It grows back, right? It does. BUT, it takes time and if you do not like your appearance, it can dampen your spirit. Because, let’s face it, the way we look has a HUGE impact on how we feel. I know, I know, it feels politically incorrect to say such a thing.

We should be worrying about what’s on the inside and not what’s on the outside! But, in my opinion, it’s not vain to be concerned with both. What you project out to the world is how people formulate their first impression. Like it or not. So, why not like it?

A few months ago I lightened my hair. I am a natural redhead and have always, always wanted to be a blonde. Blue-eyed redheads are exceedingly rare (only 1% of the population) and my coloring has been an identifying characteristic that greatly impacted my personality. I stand out in a crowd.

Therefore, I embraced it accordingly by being as loud and fiery as others expected. Redheads aren’t supposed to go grey…but that is not the case for me. I have been attempting to color my white roots for years and it just got to be a fruitless endeavor. So, I made the decision to go blonde to minimize the time-consuming upkeep. And, it worked! Blonde is MUCH more forgiving. But, people’s reactions to my decision have been really interesting.

For the most part, the comment I receive the most is “but, your red hair is so pretty!” Yes, thank you for saying so…but, keeping it that hue was not. It cost a small fortune and required touch-ups every three weeks. Who has that kind of time? Not me.

I don’t like to believe that the hair on your head dictates who you are. That sounds absurd. But, I will say that this change to my appearance has made me cognizant of what others see. Am I just one of the crowd, not the 1% that I was a few months ago? I guess so…but on the inside I feel like the same old Kelly.

I will still give you my opinion (whether you like it or not) and am not one to shy away from confrontation. My inner redhead is alive and well, I suppose. But, the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s good to get outside of your comfort zone and experience life from a new perspective. .

Have you ever made a big change to the way you look? If so, what was the reaction? Please share in the comment section below.

Happy Weekend

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