A military spouse lifestyle blog. Stories, tips and how-tos from behind the ACUs.

Fifty Hairs of Grey

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It was a cold, soggy evening. Tropical Storm Nemo made its way to our backwoods Alabama home and was flooding most of the area. We had just sat down at the dinner table to steamed broccoli and burnt honey-mustard pork chops. Adjacent to me, Whitney eyed the meat suspiciously and I didn’t blame her. I was carefully cutting away the black, flaky edges to eat the innermost portion, myself. Brandon was across the table trying to keep up with Kennedy’s hoover-vacuum-style eating – that kid will eat anything – including my overcooked mess of meat. He and I were talking about our recent PCS (permanent change of duty station) orders to Fort Bliss, TX and dreaming of the house we want to buy when we move there. Then, in true Whitney fashion, she interrupts our adult banter with, “Mommy, your hair is white!” I turned scarlet and my eyes got real big. Luckily the conversation didn’t stop at me. As anyone with a 4-year-old knows, she’s quick to gab, only stopping on topics for a nanosecond. But even as they playfully chatted over dinner, I sat mortified – if my 4-year-old noticed my grey hair, I guess it’s that time yet again; time to hit the salon. At nearly age 31, I’m still completely embarrassed by my loss of hair pigmentation – and I’ve been dealing with this for half my life already.

I started going grey at age fifteen. I noticed a single white hair one day before school and quickly plucked it. I forgot about that one for a while until another one popped up in the same place. So I plucked that one. But then two more grew in its place. Plucked those. It quickly became a routine I did in the mirror each morning before school. I’d check my little silvery sprouts to make sure they were all gone. I didn’t have money to go buy a box of Lo'real, so I trashed the suckers. It wasn’t until college when it became obvious that I had to start coloring my hair. If I kept plucking I’d be bald.

By age twenty I was coloring every four weeks to keep up a youthful appearance. It was emotionally harder for me then to deal with it. I was still a young girl, but I had this thing that I felt like I had to hide. Brandon and I started dating around that time, and talking about your grey hair isn’t at the top of romantic convos when you’re trying to keep a great guy around. I never told him about it because I was embarrassed and thought of it as a repugnant turnoff like hairy feet and ingrown toenails. I kept it all a secret under sassy shades of champagne and dark caramel blond.

I finally came out of the closet, if you will, to Brandon only about a year ago. Mind you, we had been together for nine years by then, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he already knew and simply let me keep my quiet vanity. Bless that man. He and I joked about it all the day I told him and laughed at the thought of what we might look like 40 years from now – him all salt and peppered with me and my Jennifer Aniston hair – too youthful for a woman in her 70s. I felt so much relief knowing that he finally knew and that I didn’t feel like I had to hide it from the one person who knows me the best in this world. But even in my 30s – at an age when many women find their very first grey hair, I still feel too young to have a head-full. And that still-too-young feeling creates hair envy as I try my best to keep up with the hair trends.

Of course my dying is done in the name of vanity. I could easily let it all just grow out (ack, that image seriously freaks me out), look older than I am, and maybe even get taken seriously for a change. I fantasize about having serious hair like Stacy London, with her sexy strip of grey contrasting against rich, dark brown. Admittedly, I keep brewing the blond because I want to feel pretty. Who doesn’t?

Over the last decade and a half, I’ve learned that genetics mostly determines when a person greys. The same reason why some men bald earlier than others, some women grey earlier due to that little, curly swirly, red and blue genetic code (perhaps I've seen Jurassic Park too many times...). This knowledge doesn’t change anything, of course. I wish it were different, but if wishing is all I had to do, well, I’d be wishing for a 3-story yacht named Yahtzee with 5 personal bathrooms, 17 retractable flat screen TVs, a personal chef, and a massive Jacuzzi on the Promenade Deck called The Grand Canyon (not that I’ve given it much thought…). The Debbie-Downer is that my hair is what it is – no wishing my way out of it, baby. It bums me out that genetics robbed my hair’s youthfulness, but I deal with this unpleasant thing because that’s all I can do. We either deal with it and move on… or we don’t and suffer.

Since starting my soulful journey and hunting down the happy, I made an attempt to relax my frustration about keeping up the appearance of my hair by releasing the negative thoughts. I watched my balloon filled with all the hair unhappiness, lift into the sky. I visualized the large, pink latex simply drifting along the breeze, taking my bad feelings about my hair’s past to some far-off place where I don’t have to be plagued about it anymore. It helped me feel improved for, like, a day. That is until I woke up the next morning to root re-growth to which I sped-dialed my cosmetologist to make a same-day appointment. My hair has afflicted me for half my life, and it looks like I still can’t shake the vanity of wanting to feel pretty and maintain my appearance. This is one happiness hunt-down that still needs fine-tuning.

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My Fifty Shades of Grey-coverup from over the years.

*******
And because my girls are rad in their red, here they are on Valentine's Day.

- EB

6 comments:

  1. Lady, you're beautiful no matter what color your hair is! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Becky,

      Thank you so much. You rock my socks off.

      - EB

      Delete
  2. As if we don't have enough other similarities, I have a very large amount of grays as well that I dye and have for a long time! I love all your different hair colors, I always do the same... it's so boring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin,

      Thank you for your honesty! I used to feel really insecure about a lot of things, including my grey hair! But now I know that it's part of being human. :)

      - EB

      Delete
  3. I had no idea Erin! You did a good job hiding it from me all those years. You are beautiful no matter what hair color you have and you always have such cute hairstyles. I have been envious in more than one occasion. I bet you'd be hot even if you went all grey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. E,

      Yeah, I got pretty good at hiding behind a tube of hair color. Thank you for your kind thoughts. :)

      - EB

      Delete

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