She decided she wanted to write
a poem about purple toes and black hair.
She is not usually silly
or prone to fluffy things,
but light-hearted poetry
seemed a distraction to her
and the problems in her life.
She got a pedicure recently.
It was by a sweet Asian young woman
who did not speak much English,
but did a good job with painting
her toes a bright, pretty purple.
She picked it out to be
different and a bit funky.
She has a slight alternative side
that sometimes she hides well,
because some don’t see it as professional
and there are lots of different styles
that she enjoys.
She once dyed her hair purple
and helped her friend dye her hair
green and then blue
when her friend hated the green.
They were going to the Tooth and Nail tour
to see two bands that they liked who were uber-cool.
The purple dye was only for one day and temporary,
but sometimes she wouldn’t mind
making it more permanent
if only she was younger,
or if she didn’t care what people thought.
That thought makes her sigh,
because people like to judge based on appearance,
and society’s fashion rules for women
can sometimes be quite oppressive,
confining, limiting, and immodest.
She really wanted to be bold
so with her birthday she decided to dye her hair black.
She had never done that before.
It was a light, pretty black that she was drawn to.
But she got sick right before her birthday,
and thus her friend could not dye her hair.
Time went by,
and she had second thoughts,
but it bothered her that
she didn’t take that bold step.
She almost took the hair dye back
but, even if she hated it,
even when someone told her she may look like Elvira,
she just knew she needed to try it.
She needed to not live her life in a box
or worried about what other people thought.
She liked it, once it was done.
Black and bold
in her estimation.
But for some reason it quickly faded
and came to look more like a dark brown.
Still pretty, but not bold. Not black.
Not the pretty black she had hoped for.
Funny, though, she observed that
many people did not even notice,
and she had thought it was so obvious
and so BOLD.
She is quite glad that she tried purple toes
and black hair.
She keeps telling herself
that change can be good
when she feels stuck in a rut
and like she can’t feel her dreams anymore.
*Poet’s note: Most of my poetry is personal, however sometimes I like to tell a creative story. In the case of this poem, it is a true story, and I am the girl with purple toes and black hair.
Before hair dye picture of me (Rosemary Case, photographer)
Before black hair dye picture (Rosemary Case, photographer)
Mid black hair dye (Rosemary Case, photographer credit and Mom)
Instagram photo of me and my brother, Kevin (two days after black hair dye; Lyle Smith, photographer)
Toes are not the cutest subject, but I want to show off my purple toes and pedicure (Julie A. Smith, photographer)