Eeeek. I’m having some withdrawal symptoms this week. I’m giving up the bottle. The L’Oreal #5AR bottle.
I’m talking to women everywhere for support. I got new glasses this week and spoke to the woman who helped me about her beautiful white hair.
Her name is Terri. She used to dye her hair, until a friend got cancer. “That scared me away from it,” she told me. “She had dyed her hair for years. The argument is still out about what all those chemicals might be doing to the brain, but I just decided it wasn’t worth it.” To her surprise, Terri discovered she loved her natural color.
“That’s the color I want,” I told her.
Then there’s Theresa, the wonderful woman who works at my parents’ ALF.
She didn’t want her body in the photo, but was happy to share her “sometimes I dye/sometimes I don’t” hair. She doesn’t feel compelled either way. I love that.
This week, I asked women (some I know, some I don’t) about this gray hair thing. I told them I’m writing about this ritual we women have of painting our heads, and that I want to stop doing it. I asked for their thoughts on the subject.
At first, they kind of looked around to see who was listening. They stepped closer and spoke softly. The topic of hair coloring is a sensitive, private, almost ceremonial practice, and we all feel protective about its secrets.
Then, they shared from the heart.
“I’d like to quit dyeing my hair, too,” one woman said.
“I don’t think my husband would want to see my gray hair,” said another.
A third one said, “When I started going gray, people told me, ‘you need to dye your hair. It looks awful’.”
Good grief. Are we under pressure to maintain the illusion of no-grays-here, or what?
No one ever remarked on my incoming gray strands. I spotted them first and immediately thought, Oh my, we can’t have this. My mother never dyed her hair, so I don’t know where the repugnance came from.
Somehow, somewhere, I just came to know that gray hair was not wanted.
I‘m trying to get to the bottom of this.
This morning, I tried to get a picture of my roots and the new growth that is showing. I have to admit, I’m not crazy about it.
Some of my problem is I don’t like the color gray in general, and I don’t own anything gray because it’s not on my color wheel. It always looks dull to me – flat, boring, dirty. It’s just not a color I relate to. That’s why I want white, angel hair like Theresa’s. Like my Irish maternal grandmother had.
In reality, my Cherokee blood is going to override the Irish in me, and I suspect I’m going to have battleship gray hair.
This is going to be harder than I thought.
The start of this journey…PART 1