This is going to be another off-topic post, this time I am not sure how I am going to build the bridge to my craft, but that’s okay. I do believe that sometimes this blog can be about other things, too.
Hair, in this case.
My hair, to be more specific.
You see, I am in my late thirties, and I am afflicted with a nice case of premature graying. It’s a gift from my mother’s side of the family – a gift that keeps on giving, from generation to generation. In fact, I’ve seen the first odd white hairs on my head in my late teens. They were ripped out immediately… but by my mid-twenties, plucking had become futile. I started to regularly dye my hair – and by my late twenties/early thirties, the dye-job had to be repeated every 4 weeks. My temples had turned a solid salt-and-pepper and since I had long hair and used to almost always wear them in a pony tail, it became very obvious what was going on.
I have really thick hair, and lots of it – so my dye-jobs were not exactly cheap, as you can imagine. And by the speed of my hair-growth, it was really hard to keep those annoying, horrible grays in check.
Right before I started my current job, 3 years ago, we went through a really, really dire financial situation, which prevented me from getting my “youth-fix”, as I like to call it, for quite a while, and out of necessity, I decided to rock my silver for the time being. Until I saw pictures of that year’s Christmas Eve, that was – and since I began my job only a few days later, I went and took care of the issue immediately after the holidays.
Now, the upcoming month marks the 1-year-anniversary of my pixie-cut. I went ahead and chopped it all off, mostly because I wanted a change – but saving money on the amount of dye needed for my hair was a factor as well. I went really short. Undercut-short. Which is when people started to feel entitled to opinions about my hair.
“Most women who are married and are of a certain age get rid of their beautiful long tresses, it’s because they don’t care about being attractive anymore. It’s just the way it is – and you prove my point.”
“Are you in your midlife crisis already? That’s a little early.”
“That must be your lesbian side finally showing. Good for you.”
“Well, it looks good, but it makes you really boyish. You know, considering how tall you are, and all.”
“Your husband must be really upset. You had such nice hair.”
“You look like a dyke.”
“A real woman has long hair.”
The list goes on. Those are actual, real-life quotes, btw. I also got some good feedback. Quite little, by comparison – but I didn’t care. I felt good, and that’s all that mattered to me. I noticed a few things, though: I noticed that my self-perception isn’t actually tied to what’s looking back at me in the mirror. I noticed that my self-confidence isn’t actually, either. I noticed that the precious few instances of men looking at me with interest in the street completely ceased, and I didn’t care about it. I noticed that I didn’t feel any less of a woman – in fact, I felt more like my true self. I felt a bit brave, and independent, too. Younger! Dye-jobs became cheaper, and even when I didn’t dye every 4 weeks, my grays weren’t so noticeable on my temples, because I couldn’t pull my hair back anymore.
After a year of being a pixie, however, I feel a bit of an itch to let them grow out again a bit. The undercut has long since gone, I’ve kept them slightly longer – and right now I am in an awkward inbetween of “really short” and “not quite ready to be cut into a short bob yet”. I don’t like it right now, so I find myself spending a lot of thought on the state of my hair. And I notice that I push back all thoughts of “maybe I will grow it fully out again” quite aggressively, for the simple reason that dyeing it is too expensive and too much of a hassle. And then I find myself getting angry, because I feel that life is cheating me of the option or possibility of long hair, something that every other woman gets to freely enjoy and flaunt around, simply because I have a head full of ugly whites.
But does it really have to be this way? Who’s to say that “gray” equals “old”? Why can’t I just let my hair be the way it is, accept it as a part of me, and see it as something beautiful? Not dyeing it every 4 weeks would be a relief for it (- and my scalp, and my wallet!) – and it would be really interesting to see how much of my original color is actually left on my head. I imagine what it would feel like to be able to proudly pull my hair into a cute bun, without feeling self-conscious because I haven’t seen my stylist in 3 weeks, and OMG what will everybody think when they see the amount of damage to my youth. I want to wear a bun, white temples and all, and feel self-confident and cute, like any “normal” woman would. It would be interesting to see how a stylish cut, make-up, and clothing can counteract the sense of “old” that gray hair automatically invokes.
How would that all of that feel like…?
My husband – who was all in favor of me getting a pixie cut, btw, and not upset, as insinuated in the quotes above – is in full support. He said it would make me look more natural, and his answer to my question of “But aren’t you afraid that I will look too old?” was a wonderful and reassuring “Not one bit.”
So I spent a lot of time looking at “silver foxes” on Pinterest. Such beautiful women! A lot of young ones, too! I am especially in love with the look of Lauren of How Borgeois. I mean, look at that doll face… her gray hair is beautiful, and she looks just as youthful as any “normal” woman her age does. She’s gorgeous, and comparing her “before and after” pics, she’s even more so with her natural color.
I have short hair now, so growing the gray out shouldn’t be such a lengthy process as it would be for women with long hair – and maybe I’d even consider growing it out over my shoulder again, too. I don’t know. I am mulling it all over in my head. Over and over. I am at the beginning of a process, I think. And I have a head-start of about 1 cm of gray roots, already.
After all – there is no cure for going gray, and dyeing is just postponing the inevitable. Might as well rock it?
And in the end – I could just dye it all over again, could I not? What’s your stand on gray hair on young(ish) women?