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.
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.