I have always loved the first day of school. I have no care for the rest of the year–just the first day. Everywhere you turn, excitement follows. To your left, you see a group of seniors, rejoicing their final year. To the right, a timid freshman holds her class schedule, attempting to find her next class within the four minute passing period.
I step off my bike, eyes scanning the crowd for my friends. All of a sudden, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder. Well, “gentle” is not exactly the proper word to describe Kara.
“HI!!” she exclaimed, pulling me into a large embrace. “How’s your summer been? I mean, since last week.” Kara and I had just had our annual “End of Summer” sleepover with a few of our other friends.
“Busy, but great!” I laughed. “I forgot, who’s your first period.”
Kara watched me lock my bike to the rack. She took a moment to respond as she silently went through her schedule in her mind.
“Umm, Richmond? I think. Hold on let me check.” she said, fishing her schedule out of her dark Jansport backpack as I shook my hair out of my helmet.
“Yeah. It’s Richmond. For History. How about–” Kara paused.
“Your hair. What happened to it?”
“Umm, oh yeah. I dyed it. Just a few days ago. Remember, I was telling you last week that I was planning on doing it before school started.” My hair had been jet black my entire life, but I decided it was time for a change and bought myself a DIY bleach and dye kit over the weekend. The dark, straight ends had been replaced by a subtle red blonde.
“What do you think? Do you like it?” I smiled, giving my hair little toss like how they do in movies.
“Yeah! It’s cool, I guess. I don’t know, blonde isn’t really my thing. I thought you said you hated what blonde hair would look like on you. Also, won’t your hair get really dry and frizzy?”
“Uhhh…I mean…I don’t know, I thought I’d just deal with it. And I never said I hated blonde hair.”
“Yeah, no, I know you like blonde hair, but like, on you…never mind, it looks great. Really.” Kara said, waving her hand in the air as if she was shooing her previous statement. “Hey, class is going to start soon, I’ll see you later, kay?”
Coming to school, I felt so confident. I was proud of my hair; for a first time DIY dye, I thought I did a good job, but now, I wasn’t too sure. Kara has always been honest. That’s one thing I admire about her. So if she doesn’t like my hair, it’s safe to say that the majority of the people I will meet today will think the same. I rummaged through my bag, and stuck my hand all the way at the bottom to find a navy blue beanie I stuffed in there for this exact situation. I ran into a bathroom near me, hoping that the beanie will be able to fit my hair into it. Opening the door, I felt a sudden gust of air from the freshly cleaned bathroom, filled with the faint scent of Pine-Sol. I stood in front of the mirror staring into my dark eyes and pale skin. And then my hair. I curled my red-blonde ends earlier this morning. I vaguely remember the bright smile on my face and the sparkle in my eyes as I felt proud and confident of myself, ready for the new year. All of a sudden, the door opened as another girl walked in. She stopped as soon as she saw me.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Yeah.” my voice cracked out. I turned back to my reflection and surprised myself with tears streaming down my face.
The girl looked from my eyes, to my beanie, and to my hair. Then she smiled.
“It’s beautiful.” I must have looked confused because she nodded and pointed slightly up. “Your hair. It’s beautiful. Which salon did you go to?”
“Uhh, I didn’t. I did it at home.”
She looked confused. “Well, it looks amazing. Please don’t cover it up. It’s beautiful. Don’t lose your confidence just because of what one person thinks. All that matters is what you think. And I’m pretty sure you think it looks amazing. You have to be crazy to think that your hair doesn’t look amazing.”
I looked back at my reflection. The smile and shining eyes. All that matters is what I think.