So, I’m around 30 years old, and over the past few years I’ve noticed a persistent grayening (not a word) of my hair. It first became noticeable/distressing a few months before my wedding, so like any properly crazed bride-to-be, I dyed it before the big day. Then I cut all my hair off. Not the sort of lighthearted “I’ll get a bob!” thing that many brides do after their updo days are behind them. Nope: I got my hair cut so short that my stylist shaved the back of my neck. (I could write a whole separate post about neck stubble.)
Needless to say, I barely thought about my hair for about a year, as it was really liberating and freeing to just forget about it for a while. But! Now it’s back to shoulder length, I’m back to parting it on the side, and now I can no longer ignore the gray strands along my hairline that greet me in the bathroom mirror every day, glistening in the morning sunlight.
A gray hair here and there is not a problem. Everyone has them, and they represent your pigment-producing cells’ having gone to Pigment-Producing Cell Heaven. But the corner of my hairline is becoming a veritable pigment cell graveyard. Not to mention that my grays don’t play nicely with the rest of my hair. First of all, they stick together in the upper corner of my hairline in a configuration I like to call the Sunburst. Second of all, they are total wusses and break at the first sign of heat styling. And, most incredibly, they’re straight. The rest of my hair, as illustrated here, is super curly.
As I’ve attempted to adjust to this perplexing new situation I’ve reached out to friends of both genders. As always, the lovely women I spend my time with commiserate with my circumstance and share their own experiences. The men, on the other hand, free as they are from the stigma of going gray, pretty much run the gamut. My best gay points out the sunburst with a smirky sort of half-joking, half-not manner that he pretty much majored in in college. One good friend is very pro-gray and is married to a beautiful salt-and-pepper gal himself. And finally, one of my oldest and dearest friends expressed his belief that if I let the grays keep going as they are, I will soon look like Rogue from X-Men.
So, what to do? The decision I’m referring to, of course, is whether or not to dye my hair. I’m not opposed to dyeing it; I’ve tweaked my dark brownish-red color a few shades here and there throughout adulthood. But it’s always been for fun. It’s different now. What I’m concerned about is starting this now, and “¦ never ending it. Because the grays are just going to keep growing. There’s some sort of plague that’s killing all my pigment cells and I don’t know how to save them. If I just keep dyeing it, how soon before I’ve passed, despite the warnings from Christine Daae, the Point of No Return?
What I really want from myself is to be able to just say “eff it” and leave my hair alone. Let it go gray naturally, gradually, and just accept it. Set a good example for other women who are trying to make their own decisions. Hold out hope, too, that once it’s all gray I’ll have the sort of fabulous silver tresses you see on senior models.
It’s not unlike the Boobs Issue. When I was a younger, scrawnier little thing, I wished I had boobs. When I finally got them, I was all, “That’s it?!” and wished they were bigger. Then, sometime around senior year of high school, I just stopped caring. I have small boobs. I don’t care anymore. I don’t want a bra from Vicky’s that “adds two cup sizes” because I think my cups are fine. Considering how many things about my appearance I tend to be insecure about, this is really quite remarkable.
So that’s where I hope to be with my gray hairs. I think I’m almost there. It won’t be too much longer, after all, before I won’t have to tilt my forehead toward a light source for people to see the grays. The dark color of my natural hair will force my hand. It’s just hard to accept that something ““ anything ““ of mine is dying, and will stay dead. (RIP, little cells!) And it’s going to be strange for this proud brunette to transition into being a light-haired lady. But I’m going to try.
Photos: tumblr and courtesy of the author