I got my hair color done on Saturday and they butchered it (the cut was great – the color looked like hell). So I went back on Monday to have it fixed, and they turned it RED. I do NOT look good with red hair. So after I got home from work, I got in the shower and washed it about 5 times. You should have seen the orange dye running down the drain. (You’re supposed to wait 48 hours to let color set. I washed mine about 6 hours after I’d had it done.) It’s better now: sort of a honeyed blond. It’s actually really pretty, although a little red around the hairline, but I’m pretty sure that will wash out over the next few washings.
In the grand scheme of things, the color of my hair is really not that big a deal. I know that. There are children starving in Darfur, and soldiers dying in Iraq (still). My hair is NOT IMPORTANT.
But I was hysterical before I got in the shower last night. After I got out and blew it dry and saw how much better it looked without all that godforsaken red, I was better, but before? HYSTERICAL.
See, here’s the thing. I talk a good game. If you met me in real life without ever reading this blog, you would be stunned to learn of my food problems. You’d be STUNNED to learn that I’m insecure, neurotic, obssessive, disordered, whatever. I’ve actually had people tell me they wish they could be more like me, and it always makes me laugh. (I laugh nicely on the outside – I’m not THAT much of an asshole – but inside I am NOT laughing so nicely.)
Fake it till ya make it. That’s pretty much my one-line version of my life. My personal credo. My motto. The short version of a theme song (cue the Ally McBeal soundtrack). WHATEVER.
And sometimes it works. Sometimes I fake it so long and so well that I really come to believe what I’ve been saying. Sort of like affirmation at its best. But other times I just keep faking it. I fake it for so long and so well that it’s almost like I grow a second person inside me. She’s not me, really. She’s the “fake-it” girl. And I know why people want to be like her – hell, *I* want to be like her. She’s the girl that laughs loud and cracks jokes and doesn’t take any shit from people. She’s the girl who goes out with friends and has pizza and wine and when another girl gets weird and insecure about the calories, the “fake-it” girl is the one who manages to turn the conversation around into a girl-power revival.
But deep down, I am NOT “fake-it” girl. I read somewhere that Marilyn Monroe used to talk about herself in the third person when referring to her alter ego. She only used personal pronouns when she was “Norma Jean.” Marilyn was a creation, an illusion, manufactured as surely as a doll or a robot. There are stories told by interviewers of being out with her on the street, unnoticed, and of her turning to the interviewers and asking, “Do you want to see me be her?” She’d stride forward with a different walk, a different energy, and suddenly people would start flocking around her, even though she hadn’t changed externally: she didn’t whip off her headscarf and remove her sunglasses or whatever. The change was entirely internal. That’s how I feel about “fake-it” girl. She’s a creation. I can “be” her, but she isn’t really me.
And when my hair went bad the other day, I was reminded of why I’m so vain about it: I don’t like much about my body. I wish I could say that I did, but I don’t. I’m working on that, but I’ve been working on it for a long, long time, and haven’t made much headway, so I don’t know if I’ll ever really like much about my body. Maybe it’s the way I’m hard-wired. But I have great hair and beautiful eyes. That’s it. Even though I know objectively that others would disagree with me, in MY perception, that’s all I’ve got going for me in the appearance department: my hair and my eyes. And if my hair is wrong – badly colored or badly cut – my world sort of collapses, because I feel like I’ve lost one of only two things that make me worth a second look.
I know how melodramatic that is. I KNOW. And I know objectively, that it’s not true. But every so often something like this happens and I realize that I haven’t made as much headway in the “love myself” department as I’d like. So even though I’m sort of laughing internally when people tell me how much they wish they were like me, I get it. Because they really want to be like “fake-it” girl. I understand that. I’d like to be like her, too.
(And no, just because she’s a creation of my psyche doesn’t mean that she’s part of me, and therefore I’m already her. When I was little I pretended to be Cinderella, and I’m no more “fake-it” girl now than I was Cinderella then. I wish I were.)