I can keep in mind the beginning of my grey hair days vividly: the night my college friends spotted a grey hair on my head and plucked it out of love, it became an unprecedented artifact to store and observe later, hard proof that we can also, in truth, now not stay in our twenties for all time. The hair became a curious discovery, then I wasn’t worried. I became around 26 or 27 once I began to word silver strands peeking through the pinnacle of my otherwise dark brown mane, and I wasn’t positive what to make of them initially. But it didn’t take long to come back to a verdict: I would make peace with those new, foreign hairs. The concept of getting vintage, that unknown, amorphous concept, wasn’t yet on my radar. It didn’t occur to me to feel old because… I wasn’t — I was just a young person with a few light hair strands. This changed into something I ought to stay with.
I had wanted to be the type of man or woman who embraced her grey hair; truly, I did. I hadn’t adhered to society’s beauty guidelines to this point — I’d shaved my head in high school and stopped shaving my legs in college — why start now? (I became a contract creator/odd-process hustler in New York City; additionally, I didn’t have the time or cash to be troubled with the upkeep of dyeing my hair!)
And I liked how grey-haired ladies around me looked and the self-belief they carried themselves. After all, I become a feminist, a riot grrrl, and a real feminist familiar with her natural self. So it became a surprise, even to me, after landing on #TeamDye, in the long run. “Going grey” initially became smooth and stayed that way for some time.
I rode the slightly salt-and-pepper wave for years; in reality, now and then, like the specific appearance of having diffused gray highlights, although now not always. But what kept me firmly tethered to #TeamNatural, regardless of my conflicted emotions, became the reality that I became genuine. It almost didn’t be counted whether I changed into the grays or now not — this was what I looked like, and I desired to be OK with simply being me. I became true to myself, and that turned into what mattered. But become I?
After years of forcing myself to “love my grays,” even when I wasn’t certain if I did, the reality commenced to poke through, alongside more gray hairs. It was so subtle. At first, I barely observed it, but at some point, around my mid-to-overdue thirties, as the grays became greater visible, I started to word my conduct alternate.
I’d stopped carrying my hair up in buns or ponytails because right around my temples turned into where a maximum of my grays clumped up, and I didn’t just like how it looked. However, it wasn’t even the gray itself that bothered me, the unevenness with which it grew. If my hair were extra uniform, if I’d had one of those perfect grey stripes, I may want to get into it; however, because it became the haphazardness, the random placements of silver strands… I didn’t love it. And the actual kicker?
I didn’t sense myself with grey hair. Which, I recognize, I recognize, what does it even suggest to “live your self” while our bodies, ourselves, are continuously changing? On the one hand, I’d had darkish chestnut brown hair my complete life — the self I had become used to, that I’d seen pondered returned in every replicate I’d seemed in nearly for all time, turned into a self with brown hair. I’d experimented, more often than not unsuccessfully, with Kool-Aid and Manic Panic as a youngster; I’d even bleached my hair blonde as soon as for a short stint, but that never felt like me (which pals have been brief to factor out the complete time I had it).
But it turned into greater than that. As a curly-haired individual whose hair had continually regarded healthy my ebullient persona, so much of my identity changed wrapped up in my hair. That hair became (almost constantly) brown! I turned into a brunette Patti Mayonnaise, the actual-existence counterpart to the brown-haired Cabbage Patch Kid I’d had growing up, Jessie (only I spell my name without i).
My exceptional pal texted me things like, “I’ll look for your brown curly hair!” when meeting up at a crowded location. Who was I if I didn’t have that? I become stuck, afraid dyeing my hair could imply I became contributing to the unfair splendor requirements I desired so badly to buck, scared that giving in might be a horrific instance to the growing variety of friends I had who have been on the fence about dyeing their hair, too.
There also became how I would be perceived on my own and others. Men are considered prominent while salt-and-pepper seems, but girls are often visible as… vintage. I’ve been lucky enough so far that after I inform humans my age, they’re commonly surprised. They suppose I appear more youthful (which also has more to do with the false impression of age within the cutting-edge technology, but that’s a notion for another time). I desired to preserve the air of mystery around my age, now not give up proof that I am growing old.