As a disabled person, it's easy to feel detached or not in control of my body. For years I've had doctors telling me what I can and can't do. I’ve been poked, prodded and in some cases unclothed in the name of my disability, but I soon learned the power of hair, and how it could help me take back control.
Me and my hair have an ever-changing relationship, one day it's blonde, the next bright red and the day after that? Who knows. For me hair is a huge part of expressing myself and showing off my personality, whether that be with bold colours or a quick chop at the salon, making these decisions independently has massively helped me gain confidence and ownership over the body I'm in. Growing up, I relied so heavily on others it was almost impossible not to feel like my body was someone else’s, perhaps fuelled by internalised ableism. I used to believe not being able to do certain things independently meant I was somehow weaker and less able to make decisions myself. Others had constantly made decisions about what I could and couldn't do before I'd had the chance to think about it myself.
Hair is such an individual experience. We all have different hair types, variations of a bad hair day, and styles we prefer, but one thing that remains for most of us is that we use our hair as a way to help us feel confident and powerful. I love a bold and bright colour, I love how I can match it with my overall style and add a sense of playfulness to my appearance (plus bright red hair looks cool with a biker jacket). My hair colour choice is always something that I’ve tried to keep unique to me, of course, many people have colourful hair but I’ve always made a conscious effort to think about how a colour might make me feel better or more confident. Being able to choose this solely on how I feel gave me the freedom I desperately craved for years meaning I could reclaim my individualIty and independence in one.
That isn't to say I don't just experiment at times. As I've grown older I've been able to take more ownership of myself, meaning impulsive colour changes are something I've done more of. Even the notion of freedom when it comes to my hair has massively changed my view of myself, and how I've grown to become more independent over the years.
Hair had an incredible ability to unlock sides of yourself you didn't know existed, giving you more power to make decisions, so why not take control yourself and try something new?