You’ll notice I said “silver”, didn’t you, instead of “grey”? Because like so many terms in our world today, silver has better connotations than grey, and we are all about shades of meaning in the 21st century.
Be that as it may, I stopped having my hair colored in March for several reasons, and the journey is a fascinating one. To me, at least, which is why I’m writing about hair instead of books. (Plus, everyone I know is sick of talking about it with me.)
I stopped with the coloring process for these reasons:
- It hurt.
- It is rather expensive to have it done at the salon. Which I did.
- It turned a bizarre brassy shade in the sun, which was neither brown nor blonde.
- It didn’t last.
- I wanted to see what I really looked like, what my hair was doing unbeknownst to me under all that dye for all those years.
You’d be amazed about all the comments people give you, solicited or not. Here are some of the most oft-repeated reactions:
- It will age you ten years.
- Why would you do that?!
- Don’t do that!
- It looks beautiful!
- I would never have the guts.
- You should cut it all off.
- Does your husband let you do that?
- I didn’t recognize you sitting there/walking across the park/from behind.
Now, I never tell people what to do with their hair, so it’s interesting that some should feel compelled, unsolicited, to tell me what to do with mine. But, that’s not the unsettling part. The part that feels really weird, now that I’m four months into this process, is not being recognized. Am I really defined by my hair? Is who we look like on the outside the same as who we are on the inside? A knee-jerk reaction is, “Of course not!” Still, even some people who are the closest to me have to look for me twice.
My hair is a serious point of vanity for me. I love its thickness, its curl, its weight. So to undergo such a big change is a strange thing. I have mixed feelings about it even now, and as my hairdresser said, “You’ve only just begun.”
I tell myself I can always go back to dying it brown. But, after all this conversation, all this time, all this impatient waiting, I don’t think I’ll do that. It’s really nice to be free from the time, effort, and expense of hair color. I think I’m going to like the silver which is appearing more and more each day, revealing who I really am.