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It's genetic (part 5)

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Susan costume

October 4, 2000

 

 

I've changed my hair color now three times this year. This is unusual, really... most of the colors I've had lasted for an average of 1.625 years: bleached white, fuchsia pink, deep purple, black, light blue, lavender, pinkish purple.

Even the shifts from one color to another used to be gradual, or at least related, usually. Except for one time when I went from black back to white. But once you get to black, what else are you gonna do?

 

Now I've gone from pinkish-purple to turquoise to blood red within a 4-month period, just for the fun of it. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, the ability to-- no, the *willingness* to change my appearance constantly, you know, like Madonna does, just has not been within my capacity. I believe it is because I have historically used my appearance as a physical expression of my inner self-image. (Stick with me, here, through psychobabble land.) Think about it: Madonna, a well-known maintainer of chameleonesque behavior, changes from cheerleader to Marilyn imitator to cross-dressing dandy to goth to geisha to hippie to raver to god-knows-what, like clockwork. She's had a nose ring, a belly ring, a gold tooth, a cigarette hanging out of her mouth... does she keep any of it? Never. It's all transient; props. You don't "know" her.

 

But could you say you did, if she were more consistent? My hair color has always been carefully selected, like a wedding dress, as if it were a symbol of the time in my life; a snapshot of my psyche at that moment. Why white? Feeling my oats, I was a vixen. I felt platinum. Why black? I was on my own, feeling lonely... needing a cloak. Why pink? I was cynical, abrasive, sarcastic; it was THE Punk Rock Color. Etcetera. And they changed slowly, like I did. Like my proposed version of myself did. Purple and lavender lasted the longest, and was the color range I always returned to; it seemed to suit me inside and out. The colors I chose represented me.

 

I am conscious of the fact that I have been losing the link between myself and my appearance; I no longer feel like my appearance is *me*. Does that make sense? I am not my hair. I am not my clothes. These sound like lines from "Fight Club" - god, that movie was astounding, and very much about the same kind of epiphany.

 

Color, style, fashion... these things that I made my portrait of me, my walking FAQ, have morphed into toys for me, mere playthings. They've lost their meaning, because I've lost my grip on how any part of me could have got clearly defined, ever, within my appearance. What freedom! There is no "Susan" costume, and I really am still myself in silk or corduroy or green or polka dots. Don't expect to see me in plaid anytime soon, but don't be surprised if I no longer can be identified with any particular clan. I am not my musical taste. I am not my friends.

 

I'm all kinds of things, but you can't know by looking.

 

 

 

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