Sunday, November 18, 2012

Grey Hair: Bring It On!

I was the girl who couldn't wait to wear a bra.

I've always been fascinated with my femininity.  Not only was I the girl who couldn't wait to wear a bra, I was also the girl in the bathroom applying chapstick and pretending it was a glossy shade of red.  I loved dressing up and I loved playing with Barbies.  I envied her clothes, her waistline, and her bra size, even at 7 years old.  I pretended to be Scarlett O'Hara with her southern belle accent in her rich green, velvet dress and acute feminine charm.  I would look in the mirror and long for the day I would look like a woman.

Some 30 years later, I find myself back in front of the mirror, noticing stretch marks, lines around my eyes, some extra pounds, and the reality that no bra can overcome gravity.  As I struggle to accept middle-aged Barbie, there is one thing I find just as fascinating as a training bra...

Grey hair.

I don't remember my first grey hair, but I remember when my family started noticing it.  My husband is 5 years older than me and the fact that I had grey before he did made for a lot of fun teasing.  I took it as a sign of which spouse was the most stressful to live with.  ;)

My son got a kick out of pulling out my grey hair.  He'd snuggle up and start to twirl my hair around his fingers, then something shiny would catch his eye and he'd stand up on the couch and pluck that shiny string of silver right out!  I didn't mind.  After all, let him do all the work!  Grey hair is a terrible thing to face.  It's a hallmark of age, a sign that you are losing your youthfulness.  It's a sign that the end is at least as close as your beginning.  It's a sign that things are changing and going "downhill."

And I like that.

It's a sign that I've learned some things in life.

It's a sign that I've hit some hard times and lived to tell about it.

It's a sign that I am entering a new phase in my femininity, not that my femininity is fading.

I am becoming more beautiful as each grey hair appears because the outside, physically attractive or not, becomes less and less of a distraction, steering people toward the place my true beauty lies...on the inside.

All the work I've done to become more beautiful on the inside...all those demons I've conquered, all the risks I took, all the tears I've shed...are finally producing results.  And those results don't shine through in your 20's.  No, they begin to peek through your soul, right about the time those silvery, shiny strands of grey show up on your head.

At first, you have to really look for it.  One might happen upon it, but not unless they are close enough to be in your personal space.  Over time, people can see it from a distance.  They don't have to try to see it, but they don't catch it at first glance.  They have to take enough time to take a second look.  Eventually, as more demons are conquered, risks taken, and tears shed, you have a full head of grey and it shines.  It stands out.  It's the first thing people notice.  There is no denying your grey hair, just as there is no denying that something about you shines from the inside out.

Is my metaphor clear?  As we age, we learn some things.  We grow.  We succeed.  We become better people as we begin to accept others and accept reality.  We become more beautiful on the inside as our youthful beauty fades, even to the point where people walk away having an acute awareness that we (you) are beautiful.  Stunning.  Perhaps even unforgettable.

I've asked my son to stop plucking my grey hair.

I don't know anyone within 10 years of my age who doesn't dye out the grey.  I don't plan on dying mine.  Everyone tells me that when my grey is really obvious I will eat my words.  My husband thinks that it all sounds good to me now, but once I'm faced with a head of grey that others see from afar, I will look in the mirror, look at others my age who look younger with their colored hair, and make my hair appointment with super hero speed.

They might all be right.  It's easy to be idealistic when your grey is tucked under the part in your hair and you have to pull it back to show it off.  (Yes, I do show it off.)  But for now I'm finding it absolutely fascinating, just like I was once fascinated by my changing body in adolescence.  I love growing into a woman.

On my birthday, I took a picture of my silvery lock.  I love that picture.  I posted it on Facebook.  It symbolizes all the victories I have made in my life so far and it's such a confidence boost.

I want to embrace my new femininity one grey hair at a time.

Still have to work on embracing gravity.  Maybe that's what happens in your 40's.  One grey a time.