My hair first started going gray in my late twenties. At the time I was going through a divorce, had just given birth to my third child and started a new relationship with a divorced dad of four girls.
Not only did I start going gray, but my hair also decided to start falling out, in clumps. Thankfully that trend soon righted itself but the grays kept on coming.
Not being one to shy away from things to do with my body I decided to dye my hair black (it was a dark brown to start off with) and to enhance my grays by getting the whole piece dyed silver.
This was my one and only foray into "doing something about my grays"
In my mind gray hair just needs a better P.R. team. For starters we could stop calling it "gray" hair and instead call it "silver" which automatically takes it into another league altogether. In fact, I refuse to call my hair gray. I have silver highlights not gray hair. And that is the way it will stay. The "highlights" might be taking over but I will not become one of those women who are clearly well into their 60s with jet black hair because really, who do they think they are kidding?
I remember reading somewhere, when I was in my teens, that there are two places that you can always tell a woman's age; one is her hands and the other, her neck. This started me on an obsession to wear gloves while doing the dishes and to lavish moisturizer on my hands at any given opportunity. I didn't worry about my neck until it was to late.
At heart, I am basically lazy and the thought of spending hours getting my hair dyed, not to mention the expense, seems like more effort than I can summon. This doesn't mean that I don't care about my appearance because I do. I love to get my eyebrows shaped and tinted. Ironic, I know, that I will tint my eyebrows and leave the rest of my hair alone but having tinted eyebrows really helps lift the rest of my face.
I like to dress up even if I am sitting at home in front of my computer tapping away at the keyboard. Not for me slouching about in sweat pants and an old tee shirt. When I head out then on goes the make up and the jewelry, although I am just as comfortable without the make up the bling is essential.
The greatest aspect of getting older is learning to accept my body and myself. This is an ongoing process. I wish it was a one hit wonder but just as I get comfortable with one thing something else rears its head to check if I can love all of myself.
Learning to love my gray hair was easy because I know that each and every strand of my silver hair tells a story.
Some are from the struggles and strains of that messy divorce and the new relationship.
Some are from the juggling of two young kids, a baby, a relationship and teenage girls.
Some are from shifting miles away from all that I knew to forge a new start in a new town with that partner.
Some are from the tumultuous teen years of my growing boys. The late nights worrying if they were okay as they were off doing their teenage thing.
Some are just from the stress and strain of juggling kids and work and relationship all in one day.
And I wouldn't be without any of them.
I know that going gray ( silver, can we just all agree and decide it is silver and not gray?? Please?) is not for everyone. Admitting that we are getting older is a challenge in this youth-obsessed culture that we live in. Let's face it that window marked "youth" is incredibly fleeting and much as we try to re-frame forty as the new thirty or fifty as the new forty the simple fact of the matter is that we are getting older. Lets embrace that as a good thing, not everyone is so lucky.