My mom stopped coloring her hair after my grandma died in 2011. My grandma didn't like it when my mom let her hair go, thought it made her look old when the grey started to show through. But my mom's hair is short & thick & grows like a weed, so the greyer her hair became, the more difficult it was for her to keep up with the process of coloring it. It was annoying, it was expensive, & her roots would start showing again after a week, anyway.
When my grandma passed away, my mom decided to just let her grey do its thing. Some people - my uncle & my dad's best friend included - gave her grief for it. But I thought it made her look beautiful, vibrant, natural. I loved it then, & I love it now, & I think our family has come around on it, too. Strangers certainly have.My mom gets so many compliments on her grey hair, in part because, like I said, it looks amazing. Also because my mom is 61 years old, & at her age, grey is A-OK.
But me? I'm just two days into 31, & I still think that's a little young for a full head of greys.
It started a few years ago. At first, it was just a small patch near my right temple, a few white hairs sneaking in amongst the browns. I imagined that if I stopped coloring that spot, it would grow into a chic, Stacy London-esque streak.
OK, maybe not. I tweezed those first few greys right out of my head, tossed them into the toilet & colored my hair as usual, the way I'd been doing for years. I didn't think twice about them or my brief dreams of resembling Rogue from X-Men.
I haven't colored my hair in, oh, seven months? It's been awhile, in part because I'm a little lazy & in part because I'm a little
The greys are taking over, though. I don't have to look closely anymore, don't have to dig through my brown hairs to find them, because there they are. They shine bright white & stand out, glinting in the sunlight & calling out that I've gotten older, that I've "let myself go," that I'm no spring chicken anymore. That I turned 31 next week.
In my early 20s, I teased my friend Ben about his many greys, jokingly tried to pluck them out of his curly, would-be Jewfro when he wasn't looking. "They bring me wisdom," he insisted, but on special occasions, he'd like me pull one out, just for fun (thanks for indulging my weirdness, friend).
I think of Ben now when I look in the mirror, wondering what wisdom my greys have brought me (he's notably wiser than I am). I wonder, too, when & if I will ever feel confident enough to stop coloring my hair, to stop insisting on ombre & fielding questions about my natural color.
Because these days, my natural color is, well, mostly grey. I know now that if I let it grow out, the effect would be decidedly more Storm than Rogue, but I'm still not grey enough to look good doing it. If I thought my natural hair would look as good as Storm's - or my mom's! - I might even go for it now, just let myself turn full-on grey.
As it stands, though, I'm just looking, well... kind of ratty. I know, Mom. I know.
Still, part of me doesn't want to cover them up. I'm officially into my 30s now, & I don't know what wisdom these years have brought me, but I know there's some in there somewhere. I know that I am finally not scared or ashamed to grow older. In fact, I'm even a little proud of it.
And that? Well, I think that's a sign of aging with grace, greys & all.