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by: Better Not Younger
September 05, 2018
My relationship with my gray hairs reminds me of the drama between the main characters of one of those long-running soap operas. I have admired them, feared them, ignored them, tried to hide them, and maybe, finally, learned to accept them.
Growing up in a family of many powerful women, the silver bob was reserved for the matriarch 3 generations above me.
My mother is a brunette, one of the grandmothers was ash blonde, and the other one shifted between different shades of orange and red.
It was my paternal great-grandmother who wore her silver hair in a perfectly polished style, and it seemed to come in hand with the right to have the final word on any family argument, as well as with very advanced osteoporosis that shrank her height but not her appearance.
As I grew from a little girl to an adult, the appearance of my first gray hairs took me by surprise. I associated gray hair with my late 50’s and not my early 30s, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t only a color issue.
Gray hair is thicker, coarser, and has a mind of its own. The first few, before being forcefully plucked, would stand tall over my head like the flag on the moon, saying “I am here to conquer this land and never leave”.
When they became too many to pull out, and I heard that for every 1 you pull out you’ll grow 5, I resorted to coloring. Mostly highlights to blend them in.
As the years have gone by, I have learned many things about my grays. First, most of my friends got them and started doing full color earlier and more often than me.
I was a lucky one. I was not, and still don’t, need to cover gray roots every few weeks. When my grandmother’s hair started growing back after chemo I discovered that the women in my family have the same shade of brown that I do, and those gray hairs are limited to a few dozens.
I also learned that they grow everywhere, but legs get waxed or shaved.
As I approach my 50’s, and after trying every style from Ombre summer looks to more subtle highlights, I actually decided to take a break from the salon and for some time wear my gray hairs with pride.
Perhaps it is the welcomed trend in the beauty industry about embracing who we are full with all its features and flaws.
Or maybe I’m just going through a phase. But as I write these lines I realize that every gray that I proudly wear is perhaps a trophy to a life experience that shaped me, and I realize that I have not only accepted my gray hair but actually embraced it. And you, how do you feel about your grays?