It all began, at age 26, with a few gray hairs at the base of my scalp. Of course, it was someone’s brilliant idea to point it out to me, in a tone conveying horror. That little seed, planted in my brain, has materialized every 6-8 weeks, for the better part of 10 years. In the beginning, I dyed my hair for something different, but, as the gray continues to spread and consume entire areas on my head, I’m not looking for different anymore. It has become a battleground, and I am weary with the knowledge that I will not be victorious.
“It is also intense, like revealing a secret you’ve tried to conceal for years.” From, How to Embrace Gray Hair
Two little words describe the shade of gray that persists in pushing itself to the surface of my scalp—rainy day. What’s your shade? Salt & Pepper? White? Are you lucky enough to have silver? To clarify, I love, love, love the rain and how it trickles down my face when I look to the sky. It empowers, refreshes and replenishes me. The gray clouds above do not bother me; they are beautiful, grand, and powerful. However, they are distant enough to not drain my skin of what little natural color it has. An interesting side-note, gray is a shade I started wearing a few years back because I like how it looks on me. Honestly, I don’t know what that is supposed to mean. Sigh.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is fairest of them all?
Surprisingly, and happily, I’m finding much positivity around wearing our natural hair color as we age, and as I read more articles about this, I am increasingly convinced to go for it, excited actually. To finally be free from all that is, in reality, just the stories we’ve heard and told ourselves, about self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. A concept I should embrace completely and I’m working on it. I even made myself a table to demonstrate the abundance of negatives. I’m sure the list is much longer.
|Negative vs. Positive Aspects of Dyeing My Hair|
|Time-consuming||Choice of many colours|
|Standing appointment every 2 months without fail|
|Osmotic behaviour of the chemical-laden liquid? See definition below|
|Short-term boost of self-esteem|
|Everyone knows you do it|
|Becomes more difficult to attain a natural look|
Definition: Osmosis is the result of diffusion across a semi-permeable membrane. If a semi-permeable membrane separates two solutions of different concentration, then the solvent will tend to diffuse across the membrane from the less concentrated to the more concentrated solution. This process is called osmosis. (So this is my reality: that thick, brownish, sludge pushing itself into my brain cells every couple of months, yet I persist.)
Gray Matters: Why and how to stop colouring your hair by, Barbara Barnes. In some cultures, gray hair represents qualities — maturity, responsibility, wisdom — that deserve to be valued by everyone. Jean Shinoda Bolen, in “Goddesses in Older Women”, cites the connection between aging and wisdom revered by these traditions…We can let our hair be gray and know we are as vital and full of potential as ever, which may be more attractive than anything else we could do. That is my favorite part, and why not?
You can also find 100+ reasons to go gray here. The title is great: Revolution Gray, it’s not just a hair color, it’s a lifestyle. It is a ‘Going Gray Blog’ with lots of pertinent tips, relatable comments and stories, as well as links.
I took a few minutes to visit with a hairdresser and discuss my future. Bottom line is; there is no easy fix. Everyone will have different issues and personal ways of coping. I have to find what will work best for me, and so I had about five or six inches cut off the back. That removed a lot of the darker color. My hair is now a little longer than shoulder length, and by the way, I love it! Cutting off that much has cut my grow-out time probably in half. It will take about a year, maybe a bit longer to complete the process. She gave me lots to think about, but I was a little taken aback by one of her comments, “Just know that it will add about ten years to your age, and you are still a young woman.” Why on earth was she trying to talk me out of it? She kept asking me if I was sure. I realize now that it was her own fear of showing her gray and my response to her comment: “It will be me, though. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my hair.”
In essence, I am doing this to be more authentic. I’m tired of hiding my reality, and I do not believe for one minute that I will look ten years older. It’s about freeing myself…and that will only make me feel younger and lighter, letting go one burden at a time.
On that note, I have now immersed myself in this personal project, and when the “The Skunk Stripe” becomes too much for me to handle, I will decide how to deal with it then. As you noticed, I posted a photo of my newly, emerging skunk stripe, and will post an update monthly, along with tips I’ve learned and used, or not used.
Would love to hear from you, gals and guys, all ages, with opinions, your own challenges, and any positive encouragement you can muster up.
One more thing…who’s going to join me?? Be brave! You can comment below or visit me on Facebook and leave me a personal message.