When I was a little girl, my mom began to dye her hair. She initially just wanted to cover the gray, and eventually she went from brunette to blonde, where she stayed for many years.For some reason it bothered me a little, and I remember asking her once how long she planned to keep dyeing it. She winked and said, “As long as I can get away with it.” End of story. I believe she did finally quit dyeing it, but the change wasn’t noticeable because it had become white. She was beautiful to the end, at any rate.
I too, began going gray at a fairly early age. I began to highlight my hair when I was in my forties, I think, to blend the gray into the rest. Eventually, the highlights became my hair color, and I was blonde. I never thought of myself as such, but photos don’t lie! In the past year or so, I changed hairdressers and changed my color tactic. She began combining dark and light streaks, which with the gray made a pretty good look, I thought. However, it was becoming noticeable that the roots had no dark streaks. At the roots it appears to be all grey. Transparent, even. I used to look at those grey/white roots and gulp uncomfortably.
Coincidentally, last month I received an email from a colleague which contained a link to Cindy Joseph’s website. My friend said, “Your twin!” I can’t say I agree that I resemble this beautiful woman, but her website really caught my attention. She is all about women owning their years, making the transition from hiding their ages to glorying in their years. I’d been thinking about my comments to my mom when she was about my age, and had been asking myself the same question. How long are you going to do this coverup?
It niggled at me for several weeks. I ordered Cindy’s cosmetics and fell in love with the colored one – the lipstick/rouge stick. In early December, when it was time to color my hair again, I had a talk with my hairdresser. I told her I was thinking about transitioning to my natural color, and what did she think. Surprisingly, she was enthusiastic about it. She offered to only add a couple of blonde streaks this time to blend it, and then wait and see. She said I could always to back to coloring it if I didn’t like how I looked. I’m now two hairdos past my last full-on dye job. It’s becoming noticeable, and several people have commented on it. Although the comments have been pretty positive, I find I’m past being influenced by what someone else thinks of it.
Along with watching my hair color change, I am noticing other changes within myself. I feel somehow more centered, owning my own power. In Spanish we say, “Yo tengo sesenta y dos años.” I have sixty two years. They are me, they are within and without my being. They are not something to be ashamed of; on the contrary. These years have taught me so much, and enabled me to share so much with others. They have brought pain, joy, silliness and even a bit of wisdom. I wouldn’t return to any other age for anything. So why try to hide those years with hair dye? Somehow the owning of my hair color is leading to ownership of something else with myself, and I sort of doubt I’ll ever go back to covering my gray. ( I am not without vanity, however. I do plan to keep a cute haircut. I won’t get a short perm or rinse it with blueing. Well, unless it is a yellowy gray…Hm.)
We’ll see if I keep this feeling as the gray creeps further from my head. Right now, I look a little punk. Dark underneath, light on top. Here’s the current status:
My granddaughter told me it looks a little weird. I told her it was a style, and that I thought it was very cool. She stared at me and thought about it a little, nodded and said, “You’re pretty.” High approval from a twelve-year old! There’s a first time for everything. I’ll keep you posted on this transition. I only hope I can do it as gracefully as my mom did.