I have pink hair now. I did it without much thought, and I was kind of surprised by the outcome. Hair is the first and most important thing I see when I look in the mirror, which is dumb, because I am sure no one else notices much difference. But pink hair—you kind of notice that. Every time I looked in the mirror, part of my brain felt deeply confused for a second. What I saw in the mirror was not my idea of myself in my mind. It was like, SHIT WHO THE HELL IS THAT? That is a weird feeling.

I liked it immediately, but part of me wants to appeal to that “natural beauty” trope of ideal-looking ladies. At the same time, I have moments of not caring if it doesn’t look good or “natural” or “pretty” by many people’s standards or that it might annoy some kinds of people. In fact, I actively like that about it. It feels almost political to me.

I’ve been changing my hair colour a lot in the past few years (sorry, Mum, about the stains in the bathroom). I feel like I contain a lot of identities, and I can’t figure how to be just one. The easiest way for me to express that is through my hair.

Also my clothes. I have so many clothes because I am always yearning to express something different. I suspect other people would never notice, but I can never decide if I am one thing or another.

This was evidenced when I came home one day and tumbled out of my extra-large sweater to slip on something clingier, remembering how I used to feel most comfortable wearing dark, close-fitting clothes. An overlarge sweater may be generally considered the comfy choice, but I felt more like me in the snugger outfit. For a while I’ve been wanting to look more like a boy, as shaggy and loose as is comfortable, but I could feel the tide was turning a bit. Maybe I felt like my pink hair gave me more license to work towards a more conventionally attractive image in my clothes—to embrace a contrast.

I like how you can use stuff like hair and clothes as you wish, to hide or show off your body. I am an active supporter of doing whatever makes you feel good about how you look, whether it conforms to or subverts current beauty or fashion trends. I flit back and forth between conformity and subversion, it seems, depending on my mood. ♦