I started going white, just in the front, when I was 21. I dyed my hair at first even though I really liked my white streak. Why? Peer pressure mostly. I didn’t want to look “old” because old was something that was frowned upon. Grey hair on a younger person meant I had given up on myself somehow. Dying the grey out meant I was “fighting” growing old.
This idea is HILARIOUS to me! Like dying my hair somehow hid me from the Grim Reaper. Like dying my hair showed I was doing my best to stay alive or something. Like dying my hair made me immortal.
I eventually decided to stop and embrace my grey and now I’m grey on purpose.
Seriously. I’m not grey enough to have a full head of it yet, so I put in light streaks and my hairdresser and I have been toning the shit out of my hair to get it match the natural tinsel that’s growing in.
It’s glorious and very freeing. I LOVE my hair, the greyer and whiter it gets, the better. My work kids tease me and say “You look like a Grandma!” which makes me laugh as I say ” I AM a Grandma! And Grandmas are the BEST kind of people!” We gotta teach these little ones young.
It wasn’t easy to get to this age positive, grey positive place. There was pushback from friends, hairdressers, society of course. My husband even, in not so many words of course. I wield a mean frying pan plus.. divorce.
But I was angry and I was defiant so I pushed through that NONSESNE fueled by one little experience that shaped a whole portion of my life.
My father in law, in one of the few times he ever made me angry, said this of an elderly neighbour lady:
” Have you seen Wilma’s hair?! It’s so long and scraggly. Grey too. She needs to cut and dye it. She looks like an old sea hag!”
A nasty comment, right? Usually I was able to let his misogynistic B.S. float in one ear and out the other, but there was something about this time, or maybe it was something about me at that time , that didn’t allow that happen.
That comment circulated in my brain as I watched this lady out in her garden enoying life and hurting nobody. How DARE he judge her like that? What gave HIM the right to decide what she did with her f8cking hair? Hadnt she earned the right at her age to do whatever the f8ck she wanted?! And why was it ok for him to be OLD and have GREY hair but not her? Dad wasn’t that much younger than Wilma, did he forget that fact or was this a judgement only reserved for women?
Oooooh, I was mad!
I turned to him, eyes blazing I’m sure and said ” I think it’s beautiful! It’s HER hair and she wasn’t placed on earth to please you. ”
Silence. Dad was known for being an asshole when challenged and not many were brave enough to do it.
He raised an eyebrow and I forged on, my mind made up in an instant ” I HOPE I look like her when I’m that age. You may call ME a Sea WITCH!”
And that was that.
I would have my grey hair. I would wear it proudly in PROTEST of all our stupid cultural beliefs and expectations. And f8ck anyone who tries to tell me differently.
I told you I was mad.
I’ve been a greyling ever since.
Protest hair. It’s a thing!