By Angèle Cristina, Guest Contributor
Picture this: It’s a beautiful day in early September 2021 and I am sitting in a salon in Leipzig, Germany. I have just had my hair coloured pink. Dyeing my hair has been a ritual I have been following for the last 6 years. It is my way of showing my true authentic self. Let me explain….
It all began with me watching cartoons at a very young age. I became obsessed with this particular character who magically transformed from a girl to a showgirl. In the process, her hair changed from copper to turquoise or lilac or anything colourful! Little me was in awe! What I didn’t know at the time was how much this transformation would affect my subconscious and that later in life, it would become my business brand!
Just two days after getting married in 2016, I decided to colour my hair in a fun colour…finally! There I was at the salon excitedly asking for my favourite colour. I didn’t know how this was going to look or feel, but I confidently took a leap of faith and went for it. (This wasn’t the first time I took a leap of faith and I have to share that it gets easier every time!)
My hair was turquoise! Oh my gosh. I loved it and I looked like the cartoon character I adored in the 90s. I was filled with this new youthful energy – I felt alive again. To be exact – my inner child became alive again! I hadn’t felt that feeling in a long time. I hadn’t allowed ‘her’ too. I had no idea that colouring my hair would have such a huge impact on me and feel so liberating.
Our honeymoon was in Hong Kong and Bali where I was a hit with locals as I looked like a character from Anime. People stopped me to take photos with me and I loved it. I enjoyed the attention and the smiles I brought to people’s faces. Who knew that hair colour could bring such joy to others too?
Nonetheless, back home after a dream wedding and vacation, the reality of life fell on me like a ton of bricks. I had a teaching meeting lined up soon after the trip and I couldn’t wait to show my colleagues and my boss my new cool hair and wedding ring. See, at the time, I taught drama to kids aged 4 to 15, so having coloured hair was going to work out – or so I thought.
The meeting started with some glances and sighs, but I expected that. I was living in Ireland and Irish culture was quite new to me at the time even though it’s quite similar to the one I was brought up in, back home, in Malta. During the break, the boss asked to speak to me outside in private. I was excited to share my honeymoon experiences with her – she was the only ‘friend’ I had in Ireland at the time. But to my surprise, the conversation revolved around my hair. And not in a positive way! My boss felt that my hair would be a distraction for the students and that it would look unprofessional for her company.
At first I thought she was joking. I nearly sniggered at her comments. But her tone set me straight and I dipped my head in embarrassment. She didn’t like it and wanted it gone, covered, changed, hidden. As long as no one saw it, I could keep it. Otherwise I had to dye it a ‘normal’ colour or, “there would be consequences.”
The free spirited me felt like it had just been locked away into a dungeon and the key thrown away. A heaviness lurked over me. It felt like an imprisonment of sorts. What was I to do?
Financially we weren’t in a situation where I could just stop working. However changing my hair felt like ripping away the last months’ happiness off my chest. My inner child had come out to play and she wasn’t ready to go anywhere,
I was torn with this dilemma. It was a very hard decision for me. Brain over heart. Work over fun. Safety over authenticity.
That’s it. Authenticity.
Was I being asked to change who I was to suit a company’s rules? Was I being asked to not show up as my true self, while ironically at the same time I was teaching kids to be who they aspired to be?
I sat with myself for a day. I had little time to make my mind up. In that day I went through all the things I enjoyed doing. All the things that still bring me joy. All the things that make me smile. Give me satisfaction. Light me up inside.
That new hair colour had definitely brought this out again but I did love teaching. However in that moment, right there, I felt that that decision was bigger than me. I felt that if I made the wrong decision, I would regret it for the rest of my life. And I am a No Regrets kinda girl.
The Defining Moment
The word AUTHENTIC kept resurfacing. I had been working with kids for over 15 years by then, and I knew that whilst I was with them, I couldn’t deny being myself. Thoughts kept going through my head, “I can’t wear a hat or hide my hair. I can’t show a version of me to them that is not my true authentic self. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t want to do that!”
I met my boss at a random café I had never been to before. My heart was racing. I had only made one big decision before this so I was quite new to life changing decision making. I was early. I sat with my bottle of still water as I stared outside the window overlooking Cork city centre. There she was. My boss, with her huge smile, making it harder for me to make my call.
Her sprightly manner seemed very jarring to how I felt. She gave the impression that she was sure I was going to stay. It was as if she was certain she had convinced me that I still needed her. Little did she know that she was the one who needed me, but at that point, it was too late. The conversation was very dry. I didn’t want my emotions to take over. I stated the facts and my reasoning and asked her to respect them and not dispute them. She was shocked. She didn’t expect this level of confidence in my turquoise coloured hair self. She nodded her head to show understanding of my point and left.
I did it. I had just said No to being inauthentic. I just said Yes to Me.
My inner child will stay out to play and since then, she has not left.
We all have defining moments in our life, where we get to choose and stay true to our authentic self. Very few are brave enough to take this step. But you don’t need to do it alone. I coach women+ to show their authentic selves. This is the best version of you, it will be you at your happiest and the most aligned version of you. It’s time to step out and shine.
All opinions expressed in this article are the sole perception/experience of the writer, and may not necessarily be shared by Michelle Lewis – The Blessings Butterfly. All Rights Reserved.
Angèle Cristina is an Intuitive Empowerment Coach from Malta who helps women+ worldwide find their truth, happiness and magic. Through her coaching work, she helps them find their power, confidence, voice and ultimately their true authentic selves.
Connect with Angèle :
Link to my free call: https://angelecristina.as.me/freeconnectioncall
Want some more good reads on being your authentic self? Check these out: When “Love & Light” Is Not Enough: What I Learn From Times of Conflict; Changing the World Your Way; The First Pillar: Whole-Self Love (Part 3- Loving the Body You Live In)