Twenty-seven. My hair started turning gray at twenty-seven. I remember finding that first hair and in a panic I called my Mom. She very calmly told me that she was about the same age when her hair started turning gray. After a few failed attempts of ripping out the dreaded white hairs I promptly went and got a bottle of hair dye to cover it up.
Hiding The Inevitable
Over the next twenty-something years I hid the growing mass of silver toned hairs under a variety of shades. Brown mostly, but a platinum blonde and a bright red did make it into the mix as well. The area around my crown became almost white in a few short years so the cover up became very frequent as that is the first place to show. Multiply that with having kids and all the stressful glory that kids bring and the gray seemed to became very prominent.
Hiding it became a priority. I invested a lot of time and money in making sure it was maintained. I made sure the illusion was always on par and felt less of myself if the gray found its way to the surface.
I did feel younger when it would get done. I appreciated the years it took off me when the root touch ups were complete, but within two weeks, the gray would be peeking out again and add what I imagined to be ten years or so to my face. This was unacceptable. The amount of time I spent doing the camouflage versus the time it took off my ever aging self was an easy calculation. I kept coloring.
A few years ago my mother did the complete reveal and it was stunning. Her silver curls were absolutely beautiful and actually made her appear younger rather than trying to hide something that was clearly being hidden. My mom is and has always been a remarkably beautiful woman, but the natural beauty just streamed from her and I guess it inspired me.
The Decision To Go Gray
About a year ago I decided it might be time to let go of the color and begin to let the gray out of its chemical prison. After all, it had tried to escape for twenty years. I read articles, blogs, anything I could find on the best way to do this. I spoke to my hairdresser about dyeing my hair gray and the different ways that I could avoid what was really the unavoidable ‘grow out’. She did research as the gray look was somewhat new and we decided that it would involve a lot of damage so we opted to do some gray highlights to ease into it while the old color grew out.
I cut my hair a little shorter and did this for a few months, but just wasn’t satisfied. One day, I went in to my hairdresser and said that I was done with all dyes and colors and that I wanted a super short pixie. I basically had a Jamie Lee Curtis moment and cut the remaining color out of my hair. It was actually one of the most freeing moments of my life.
Time is a precious commodity as I get older and I no longer spend several hours getting my hair done every month. A quick cut and I am finished. That alone has made it worth it. I tried fooling myself into believing trips to the salon were ‘me time’. There are far more interesting things to do then sit in a chair at a salon.
At one time the salon might have been my opportunity to escape, but no longer. My kids have grown into independent people. I no longer have to use the excuse of a hair appointment to get away for a little bit. They are hardly home. While they were unsure of the transformation at first, they love it now.
I don’t mind the gray. I don’t think I look older, in fact I look the most like me I have looked since I was twenty-seven. I still have more brown than I thought I did. However, I like the natural highlights the silver hairs give me. I no longer look like someone desperately trying to hang onto my youth.
Embracing who I am is part of the journey. http://ctt.ec/_ax4l+ #GreyHair #MiddleAge @reinventjulie
There is no longer a juxtaposition of dark locks against the laugh lines around my eyes. I don’t need my husband’s approval, but I have it, he thinks it’s sexy. I have earned each one of those gray hairs that are on my head. I have cried, laughed, stressed, worried, pulled every one of them into place. Each one is a badge of honor representing some lesson I have learned along the way.
Embracing who I am is part of the journey. Years of insecurity fell from me when I made the decision to allow the gray to come through. I feel good about myself. I feel honest. I feel like I am actually important. I have more confidence. I don’t feel like I am trying to be something I no longer am. That takes way too much energy and time.
Accepting the woman who stands in front of the mirror has brought more color to my world. I am now able to see all the beauty around me. I now see further than the image in the mirror and I really like what I see.