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Going Back To My Roots

8 1/2 months ago I made the decision to go back to my roots. Not in the genealogical sense. More in the embracing my natural silver strands sense. I’ve had so many interesting conversations about my hair choices since then, that I thought I would take a minute to address a few of the more common questions and comments I have run across during this process so far.

The main thing people seem to ask me is: “why the heck would you want to go gray?” I chuckle at that actually. Of course I never really WANTED to go gray at all. I would prefer that my hair had just continued to grow out of my head dark brown. When the first gray hair appeared in my early 30’s I was mortified, and immediately plucked it out. Over time, as more and more showed up, yanking them out one by one stopped being practical. So I trotted down to the salon and commenced a couple decades of hair dye treatments. At first it wasn’t so bad. Every few months was sufficient. But as I got older, the appointments became more frequent. By my 50th birthday my roots were showing every few weeks, and my hair was stubbornly refusing to hold the dye properly. I was perpetually brassy. Not a good look. The dark brown tint that I still considered my “natural” color was beginning to look harsh against my skin, and a bit more like a brunette helmet than real hair. The color was too uniform, and damage from the chemicals was taking its toll. Not to mention it was time consuming and very expensive to maintain. I tried a home dye kit, thinking that might help, but let’s just say it did not go well at all and leave it at that. The truth is I am not choosing to “go" gray now. I went gray a long time ago, and was frantically covering it up.  I am just choosing now to stop running from that reality, and celebrate it instead.

Second most common question: Aren’t you afraid it will age you? Hahahahahaha far as I can tell I am the exact same age no matter what color my hair is. So no. I am not scared of that. Will I look older than my age though? No to that too. I will look precisely as I am meant to look at 51. The dye might have been making me look younger than my years, but the lack of dye will simply reveal the real me. How I look unaltered. The picture I posted here was taken today in my car. It is deliberately unfiltered. I have on no makeup either, on purpose. This is what 51 looks like for me. For real. I am learning to love that woman exactly as she is, even with the awkward two toned thing I am rocking currently. It’s been amazingly freeing to realize that life goes on, even on a “bad” hair day. It’s really just hair after all.

Third question: Aren’t you afraid others will judge you? Your husband won’t be attracted to you? Or variations on that theme. First of all, it took me 5 decades to finally learn that you simply cannot please everyone. There will be haters literally no matter what you do. So you must live your life in a way that makes you happy, and surround yourself with people who support you in that quest for peace and joy. It’s not that you don’t care about others. It's just that you have to learn not to care what they think on matters that aren’t any of their business. I am fortunate that my husband is my biggest fan, and loves my new glittery crown. But on that note, if there IS someone who ceases to love you when something about your body or soul changes over time, just let them go. Make more room for the ones who stay. They are your people.

Fourth question: Will you ever dye your hair again? I don’t know. Maybe, if I ever feel like it. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with coloring your hair. Nor do I think other people should go gray just because I am trying it. Everyone just needs to do what feels right to them, and what makes them feel confident and good about themselves. That can look different from year to year. So who knows what the future holds. This is just where my spirit is guiding me today. I am anxious to see what the final look is once it has fully grown in. So far I am loving it.

I have been astonished by the depth of feeling and self discovery that has been unleashed since I ditched the dye. It has become about so much more than my hair. I am learning to be more authentic in all areas of my life. I am learning to confidently follow my own path, regardless of what convention says is correct. I am learning to sit peacefully with the concept of aging, and not feel fear. I am learning that superficial things are not the source of happiness or security. Ever. And I am learning to focus on the things that matter most in life, rather than chasing after all the noise and distractions.

Lastly to answer the question about whether I am letting myself go (a ghastly question most often directed at women...the unfairness in that would take a whole other post to discuss) But to those who wonder...Yes I am definitely letting myself go.

I am letting myself go out to dinner with my husband with the money I used to spend on hair dye.

I am letting myself go hang out with my kids instead of sitting in a salon chair for hours.

I am letting myself go laugh and play, instead of worrying about other’s opinions.

I am letting myself go be openly 51 without feeling any shame in being middle aged.

I am letting myself go be free to be me. Just me. And to learn who that is at a deeper level now.

I AM letting myself go...and it feels amazing.

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