There is an ongoing skirmish in my life between what I want to do and the rules which prohibit me from doing it.
I'm not talking about anything socially harmful, like killing my next door neighbour or stealing someone else's shoes. Those are against the law. I'm not even talking about smoking weed or anything as transgressive as that... I am, of course, talking about my hair.
For those who know me, you'll know that my hair doesn't tend to stay the same colour for long. It's been bleached blond for about two and a half years, but that gets dyed over on a regular basis: purple, red, black, blue, green, orange - all colours I had in 2012. I miss having weird coloured hair, but I also know that school kicks up a fuss, so I tend to keep it fairly normal in term time. Usually blond. Occasionally red. Once or twice purple, but that doesn't tend to last long.
Last week, I got bored of my four-month stint of having hair the same colour, and decided to dye it. I chose a colour called Rubine, which has been kicking around my cupboard for around a year. It was a dark red, so I figured it would give me gorgeous burnished locks for the final five weeks of formal education. Unfortunately, my hair must be extra-porous or something, because it ended up a lovely shade of magenta. Which, while not my fault, is not something I was going to complain about.
Apparently my hair is closely linked to my academic performance though, as my new pink hair raised a few eyebrows. More than a few, to be specific, and so the last week has been spent trying to get teachers off my back. I've been told to wash the colour out of my hair. I pointed out this will just make my hair a paler pink. Apparently that's fine. However, upon washing my hair, I was told it was still too bright.
I haven't had a good week. The Boy's sister hasn't been well, so he cancelled a date to look after her; I managed to lie on a red ants' nest and have bites all over my shoulder; and someone I know died of cancer.
I've spent the week wanting to laze in the sunshine and eat picnics and dance to Frank Turner songs. None of these things have happened. Instead, my weekend started with the deputy headmistress calling my mother to complain about my hair. It is "inappropriate". It must be changed.
I don't appreciate being told my hair is inappropriate. What, exactly, is so harmful about pink hair? Does it affect my academic performance? Does it distract my classmates? No. Apparently, it's just about what other people will think. "How will my actions reflect upon the school?" quaver the teachers. Well, if parents would suddenly decide against sending their child to my school just because one Sixth Former has pink hair, are they really the sort of narrow-minded people you'd want associated with your institution? Oh. Wait. All sources point to yes.
I don't appreciate being told to acquiesce and play by the rules. When there are things you disapprove of, I've been told - by the very school, no less - that you're not supposed to lie down and play nice. You have to fight. So yes, I am fighting about something ridiculous: hair isn't a key philosophical or political issue. Nobody gets hurt because of it. Which is another reason why I'm pissed I have to change it. Of course, by far the easiest and most sensible thing to do would be to dye my hair black and stop giving the powers-that-be anything to complain about - but I'm not known for being sensible.
Mum told me about the phone call. We got in a fight. She sighed, and said she didn't know where my rebellious streak had come from - except for maybe my Gran.
My Gran loved my hair. She said that you might as well do things while you were young. Remembering this made me cry, those ugly snotty jarring sobs in between long bouts of silence that sound exactly how I imagine heartbreak does. She wouldn't have wanted me to give in.
Therefore, I will not dye my hair black. I will wash it, and cover it in whatever colour dye I have left in my fridge. And if the school can't deal with that, then they should consider whether they really support individuality and creativity the way they claim to.