To gray or not to gray? Eventually most midlife women have to make the decision to dye or bite the bullet and go all gray. MB Sanok wrestles with this question. Read more from MB on her blog, Maple Brown Sugar.
I saw this great picture on Facebook about going gray which I shared. Here’s what it said:
Those aren’t grey hairs, idiot, they are strands of GLITTER growing out of my head!
What a positive spin on spotting gray hairs and what to name them! Thank you to the clever person who created this!
For the longest time, my hair retained its original blondish-brown color, darkening to a becoming chestnut. My blond husband whose hair is slowly turning a sleek shade of silver (grrr!) favors brunettes, so he really liked the color of my hair. I vowed to never change it in deference to his preferences even though I’d toyed for decades with the possibility of blond highlights. Why upset my romantic life’s apple cart? So I resolved to leave it as is.
Like a party crasher, I discovered my first gray hair, just sticking out in the middle of my scalp with no warning or even an RSVP to the party I never wanted to have. I examined it, not sure if it was gray or blond. Many of my strands appear light, so I assumed they were blond and left them alone. I wasn’t ready to admit the defeat of aging or satisfy my younger sister’s curiosity about the existence of gray hairs on my head. Ever since my sister, who’s two years younger, found gray hairs poking out of her own head, I’d endure her roving hands and scrutinizing eyes, pawing through my hair to strike gray. To no avail, she’d remove her hands, disgusted that, as the little sister, her hair was aging first. People always assumed her to be the older one, anyway, since she towers over me by 3 inches (she’s fond of calling me shrimp) and always radiated more confidence than me. Secretly, I’d harbored a smidgen of glee that I’d been mistaken as the younger one.
As I calculated how old I was to go gray in comparison to my mom who shared the same hair color and texture, I realized she was older than me. She started going gray in her early 40s; I was in my late 30s when the slow proliferation of grays showed. Like my mom, my temples were the breeding ground which could stay hidden if I left my hair covering my ears instead of tucked behind them.
I wondered if rearing children really did bring out the gray? I’d given birth to my first child five years earlier than my mom and started going gray around five years earlier, too. Could there be a correlation between kids, stress and gray hair? My mom endured a higher level of stress at that time than me — enduring cancer, the loss of her husband and raising two children alone. Even though I experienced my own challenges in raising my children, especially with my daughter who has special needs, it didn’t compare. What would explain my sister going gray first when she is younger and didn’t have children or a husband at the time and lived a “swinging single” lifestyle?
My own paternal grandmother still had mostly brown hair in her late 80s when she died! Automatically, I assumed that my hair would pretty much gradually go gray with little to no fanfare at a late age, and people would comment how young I looked just by the color of my hair.
However, despite the cool, take-that-gray-hair! message I posted above, truthfully, I feel more like the old commercial saying that I’m going to wash that gray right out of my hair. It’s starting to bother me when I look in the mirror to see that my temples are almost entirely gray, seemingly overnight. When I’d asked a hairdresser if I should start coloring the gray strands, she shook her head “no” which struck me as honest — wouldn’t she encourage me to color my hair, gaining another appointment, earning her more money for the additional dye job? So I continued to live the lie of seeing my hair as chestnut with blond highlights, instead of chestnut with silver tinsel at the temples.
But now I’m thinking it may be time to take matters into my own hands — literally. No, not plucking — I falsely followed that old wives’ tale for all the brown hair preservation it allowed. Like my mom before me, I may treat my temples to some good old hair dye and hide behind the chestnut curtain. I’ve never colored my hair — even using lemon juice so sparingly that you couldn’t even classify that as a dye job.
Then again, maybe a little glitter would do me some good. Instead of hiding behind brown, maybe it’s time to go for the gold and get those blond highlights because that’s probably as close to glitter as I’m going to get.