Lightening your hair will always damage it. Maybe going darker with a gentle semi-permanent gloss will work for you. There are some lovely dark shades of deep purple and blue that look really nice.
There are some colours you can buy that are temporary too.
I'd try a foam in temporary like Goldwell's Soft Color. It is conditioning and will wash all the way out of virgin normal porosity hair. The great thing is it wont damage your hair at all.
No, you won't get a dramatic effect with colour, but maybe you can do that with styling. I'd invest in a few pomades and waxes and see what happens when you play with it for an afternoon. You could also go to a great hair stylist and ask them for a new look.. asking specifically about what products and what style would suit your 'phase'... have fun!!