I’ve been thinking about something for about six months – a decision that, on the surface, seems easy to make. However, because of society’s standards, I’ve wavered.
On some days, I’m sure I want to make this change. On other days, it seems…well, unacceptable. Or, at least unwise. I mentioned to a friend the other day what I was considering, and she immediately shook her head. “Oh, no, you don’t want to do that. You won’t like it, I promise you, you won’t like it.”
Hmmm. I mentioned it to another friend, who said, “Why do you want to do that? Oh God, no.”
A third friend said this: “Oh, gosh, I couldn’t do it. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it.”
These reactions surprised me, because I assumed friends would be more encouraging. I hate to think I might have to walk this journey alone.
When I tell you what I’m considering doing, you might laugh. Or, say, Oh, who cares what others think? Or, say, Oh God, no, why do you want to do that?
I’m going to stop coloring my gray hair.
What is your first reaction upon reading that? (I really want to know. Please leave your letter choice in the comment box.)
a. Are you nuts?
b. You’re going to look 10 years older. ACK!
c. Oh my goodness. Well, it’s your hair.
d. People are going to treat you differently. You’ll regret it.
e. I can’t imagine such a thing. Let’s don’t talk about it anymore.
f. There, there now. You’re clearly out of you mind. Here, have some chocolate.
g. Good for you!
To me, my reasons for giving up this ritual seem reasonable.
1. I’m tired of it. I’ve been doing it for 12 years.
2. I’d like to put the money to other things.
3. What’s wrong with looking my age? I don’t even know what I’ve really looked like the past 12 years.
4. I’d like to be free of presenting a colored version of myself.
5. I think I’ve reconciled that I’ll look older. Older than what? My fake hair color age?
6. I’d like to encourage other women to think about ditching the dye job too. When did we come to believe we had to look younger? Men don’t do this (some do, but not most.)
7. My hair dresser told me we still don’t know the long-term effects of repeatedly painting chemicals onto our scalps. What if, someday, we learn that fat cells, or wrinkles, come from hair dye? The ultimate irony.
Anyhoo…this is what I’m thinking about. I want to try letting my natural hair color – whatever it is (it might be purple for all I know) – grow in unpainted. Because I want input about this sensitive issue, I’m going to write about it. Even if, six months from now, I run, screaming, into CVS for a box of L’Oreal #5AR. It might be just be too horrific.
But, I want to see. I think. I want to be able to look into the mirror and just say, hello, you. This is what 57 looks like.
Will you join me on this journey of self-discovery? I might need your help.