I used to dye my hair often, and tweeze my eyebrows until they looked drawn so that daily I could paint on my face with make-up. I would watch what I ate so as to maintain my then-waif-like figure. I wore uncomfortable but sexy 5" heels for every occasion I could. And I did this until I could do this no more.
I stopped wearing the crazy heels years ago. Physically, I just can't do it. It's too painful. Mentally, I just can't put on uncomfortable shoes knowing I'll need to be comfortable. I still wear heels, but either I know I'll be sitting at my desk all day OR they're comfortable shoes that happen to have high heels. Now, I probably don't own more than ten pairs of shoes. I used to own dozens.
I've also toned down on tweezing my eyebrows and wearing make-up. My effort in these areas doesn't exceed what's required of looking neat. It's all I aim for. Not only is that sufficient, it's professional. At some point, I just became so comfortable with what my face actually looks like that I can't be bothered to try to make it look like something else every day. That's what it felt like when I was younger: with make-up artistry tricks, I could conceal everything unappealing about my face.
My hair-dying went in bouts. The last time I dyed my hair was about a year ago - I dyed it black when I started working at the Department of Computer Science. Before that, I had long brown hair with blonde highlights. Before that, it was medium-length and black. Before that, it was super short, semi-spikey and red with blonde highlights. Before that it was short, spikey, with brown, blonde and red highlights. I'd continue to describe the cuts, but it's pointless. I've sported numerous hairstyles of different lengths and combinations of colours over the years. Not all were that flattering, but that wasn't what I was aiming for. I had a purpose with every change: to make statement. I'm bold OR I'm sexy OR I'm crazy OR I'm fun OR ... something. The change in hair style coincided with a change in my life. Some women shop, others eat. Me? I got my hair done.
When I was thirteen and grew tired of being pegged as boring because I was the smartest girl in the tiny little class of mine, I chopped off the long black locks and wore a T-Boz-inspired cut. When my first boyfriend broke up with me, I dyed my hair black and grew it long after having worn it short and brown for the duration of the relationship. When I dated 'high school sweetheart #2' who told me that it wasn't "cool" to use words that were "too big" for his friends to understand, I chopped off the "sexy" long black tresses and sported a more conservative short, boyish cut to make him cry (just before I dumped him). In my adulthood, whenever I started a new job, or moved to a new place, I'd get a new look. And generally speaking, throughout my life, whenever I wanted to feel brand new, changing my hair was what I did.
As regards watching my weight, high school sweetheart #3 taught me how to enjoy eating.
In retrospect, I realize that the real statement with every look, and every change was I hate myself. I had been running from myself for years. I haven't done anything to my hair or my looks in just over a year. Maybe ... just maybe ... it means ...