Are you sitting down? Alright. Take a deep breath. I have to admit something.
I have bright purple hair. Like, proper bright purple.
I know. Shocking. It’s okay.
I’ve been rather consistently dyeing my hair for the better part of the last five years, usually leaning into the bright purple territory, with occasional deviations into autumnal red and orange combinations, blonde with hot pink, and the odd mix of those if I’m feeling feisty. This suits me just fine, and almost everyone who interacts with me on a very regular basis has commented at one time or another that I wouldn’t seem like “me” without the purple hair. When I’ve left my hair to its natural proclivities (a dark brown), plenty of folks have expressed that I was “back to normal” when I finally re-dyed to, yes, purple.
Needless to say, I have no problems with being myself. And yet…
In a week, I am scheduled to have nice professional portraits taken to use in all official authorly situations. Facebook and Twitter currently display one of my wedding photos, which, I will add, was before I cut off my three feet of natural brown hair. While I do love that photo, it doesn’t represent an accurate “me”, at least as far as current appearance goes. My short hair is just growing out of another pixie cut which is really bright purple.
Again, I’m very comfortable with myself. I’m certain you’ve all figured that one out by now! But the buffer between online-me, and offline-me is about to be blurred further. Of all people, I am well aware of what the instant visual judgement of a person can be like. That’s not to say anyone’s ever been particularly rude or mean about my hair colour, but some people need time to get used to it – and will they take that time to get to know me if it’s through an online medium when they see my photo? It’s all very fast. Click, click, click. Eyes dart to the photo, run over one sentence descriptions, make an assessment of this person in less time than it takes to have another sip of coffee.
What does the real me, the offline-me with purple hair, end up meaning to these nice folks online? I’m curious if offline-me and author-me can occupy the same space, or if they are better off having distinct portrayals. Either way, I have a week to decide if I need to freshen the purple, go over the colour with something more natural, or head straight for black and white photographs and invalidate this consideration entirely.