Writing fiction is all about living vicariously. When you create a character, you get to see through someone else’s eyes, think through someone else’s brain. When I’m bored, I just check out and put myself in a character’s mindset for a while. Being “elsewhere”–or “elsewhom”–becomes second nature.
Maybe this is why I’m not one of those people with a defined personal style. I’m all about contradictions. I’ll wear pretty much anything, often to the chagrin of my more fashion-oriented friends—but I can be terribly picky when I feel like it. In decorating, I like clean modern lines but also cozy charm. I like soothing monotones and pops of color.
Nowhere is this aesthetic restlessness more apparent than in my hair.
I’ve always had pretty plain brown hair. I went through the disastrous perms and layers of middle school, like everybody else in the universe, but for the most part, it was straight and brown all the way. My prom hairstyles consisted of the following: Wash. Airdry. Brush. Go to prom.
But a few years ago, things changed.
I noticed little white hairs sprouting from my temples, on both sides of my head. Inexplicably, I got a kick out of them. They were funny, until—
Until the day I mentioned them to a co-worker.
“I just get these funny white hairs,” I said, pointing to them.
“Honey,” she said, “We call that gray hair.”
White hairs are comedic! Gray hair is not, it turns out.
So I immediately did the appropriate Los Angeles thing:
I went blonde. Not totally blonde—I got highlights. But the thing about highlights is that you can’t just get highlights and be done with it. Before long, you need more highlights. And more. And more. And before you know it, you’re just the girl with the long blonde hair. (And no, it honestly never occurred to me just to cover it up with my natural hair color.)
I’d been blonde for a year and a half when my inner brunette reared up and refused to be contained. In one fell swoop, I went from long blonde hair to short brown hair. I loved it. Instantly, I felt like myself again.
It wasn’t long after that I grew bored. Tired of walking around in my own skin, or my own hair, as it were. I’d been long blonde, short brown, and long brown. I decided to cut bangs. And then I decided to go long and layered, which is the look I’m sporting in my author photos. And then I went medium-length and layered. And then I went chin-length and layered. And then… well, right now there’s not really any length to layer.
It occurred to me a while ago that I am that person, the woman who has a new hairstyle every time you see her. This must be especially confusing for the people I work with who see me every three months, like clockwork, and have to process a new hairdo every single time.
It’s not that I’m unhappy with myself. It’s not that I’m trying to be something I’m not. It’s not even that I’m trying to figure out who I am.
I guess that in my hair, as well as in my writing, I’ve gotten used to being someone else for a while. So when I’m done with that look (or book), I move on to the next “someone else.”
I wonder what will happen as I get closer to the release date of Bad Girls Don’t Die… because Alexis’s hair is pink.