the pearl


My hair wasn't always bright blue-green. It used to be red. Or purple. Or green. Or black. Or the actual color in all my baby pictures — that pale blonde that is just perfect for being covered in hair dye.

Yeah, I've been dyeing my hair since I was 11, five years of dye ruining the towels and running down the bathtub drain. Mom was all cool about it, being that when she was my age, she was wearing safety pins and ripped up school skirts, so she knew that it was just "creative expression." As long as I didn't get in trouble with the cops, she was fine. And heck, once I started dyeing, all her old punker friends thought I was pretty damn cool...

But during one summer, we were going to go to my great-grandmother Augustine's 100th birthday party, and Mom thought that, you know, dark blue hair color (which it was at the time) would be a bad idea. And yeah, it'd be a horrible thing if Augustine's black sheep granddaughter caused a heart attack by bringing her little brat with blue hair.

So I washed my hair a lot, trying to shampoo the color out...

And it stayed blue.

Oh sure, it faded from that midnight blue to a bright blue-green, but still. Blue. And I wasn't even washing out color anymore, the suds from the shampoo being a bright clean white, but every time I dried my hair — it was blue.

I knew I was a mutant for awhile, able to develop gills if I was underwater (great for surfing, of course), but keep me out of water, and I'd be fine. Sure, it's kinda hard to avoid pools, especially in Southern California, but it's easily done. And no one knew I was a mutant, save Mom.

But blue hair couldn't be hidden. Especially when you're trying to look like a nice Gap-wearin' preppie kid.

Mom cursed a bit, not exactly at me, but at life in general, and made an appointment at a stylist. The man took one look at my hair, tsked politely, then started getting the bottles of dye.

The color was a boring dark brown, one of those guaranteed to disguise any all coloring mishaps, and the stylist left it on for the better part of an hour. After the rinsing and drying, my short spiky hair was...


Still blue.

The stylist nearly burst into tears. Mom just swore some more and took me home, pulling out the clippers she kept from her punk rock days.

I went to great-grandmother's Augustine's birthday party with a completely bald head, right down to that perfect shine. And it wasn't until two days later that this faint blue-green fuzz appeared all over my head.

Mom freaked. Completely freaked. Dropped me off at home, left the keys in my hand, and ran off. She was gone for a few days, but that was nothing new for me, just her way of dealing with things. I went in to school, and when Mrs. Leong pulled me aside after class to ask me about my hair, I decided to come clean about everything.

She nodded, then started telling me about this place. A place where people like me could get help, including how to control their mutations, or, in my case, learn to live with them. And when I got home with a pile of papers, Mom was sitting there, waiting. I talked to her, and, slowly, we worked it all out.

Yeah, the hair's still blue. But now, Mom's cool with it. And so am I.

This X-Men story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at