It’s a fight I’ve been engaged in for over a decade. I was still a teenager when I found my first silver strand and the logical response at that time was of course to yank it out at the root. My hair is extremely thick, I reasoned…who cares if I tear out a few here and there? Sadly, into my 20s the little boogers continued to multiply in spite of my regular removal of their compatriots. I never really said anything about it to anyone but my mom, who gently reminded me that my dad went grey at a very young age.
My dad’s last name is Whitehead…guess we know how that family name originated.
Soon a friend from church choir who was studying at Douglas J convinced me to get highlights. Fairly quickly we advanced to all-over color and I faithfully kept it up for years. It looked good! We played with various tones…chestnut, auburn, brown with golden highlights, even a year or so of black with indigo highlights on just the right side of my head. It was fun to change looks and for the most part I could forget about my Whitehead roots.
In my 30s I got married and pregnant. Once the baby arrived it became more and more difficult to motivate myself to go get my hair colored. It’s tough to get out of the house with a newborn, no matter how accommodating the situation! I also noticed the grey we were covering seemed to be more plentiful and aggressive; regrowth was noticeable just two weeks after a color. I was tired of the frequency, the cost, and of using babysitter time to sniff chemicals for three hours. On a whim I googled something about greying in your 30s and found How Bourgeois. This girl makes grey look so good! I began to seriously contemplate giving up the dye.
After about a year of going back and forth, I missed a scheduled hair appointment and couldn’t get another one until three or four weeks later. Again I contemplated aloud the grey hair thing and my husband encouraged me to go for it. “You can always go back to color if you don’t like it.” With his full support, I made the decision. The last time I dyed my hair was February 27. I was growing out the grey.
Rather than drag out the process to mask what I was doing or to keep my length, I decided to let it go long enough so I could get a cute pixie cut and then lop off the color. The date of the big chop was set for July 2 and we had four months of growth to work with. There are still bits of color left on my head that will be trimmed off over the next couple of haircuts but for the most part, I’m now grey. My hair is shorter than it has ever been and my curls are on hiatus until I begin to grow them out again. For now, I’m enjoying the change, the uniqueness of my color (just try and get your faux granny hair to look like this, kids!), and the freedom from having to keep up the dye.
Beauty is available at every age and in every color. Embrace it!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a little like a divided person. Part of me loves artistic, creative things…nearly all my interests and hobbies somehow fit under that umbrella. I love music and theatre, jewelry making and painting, writing and reading. But I also like alphabetizing things. My closet is sorted according to color and arranged like a rainbow. My calendar is detailed and up to date. I am a creature of structure and order. Once I became aware of the term “creative” being applied to people, I also became aware that I wasn’t like most of those who received that label. Creatives are free…they’re unstructured…they’re messy. Having that administrative side made me feel less creative.
Over the past year I came to accept that God inexplicably made those two seemingly opposite sides co-exist within me. Although I wasn’t sure how, I’d come to trust that it made sense to him. Mostly I was okay with being okay, but every now and then a stray thought or question would cross my mind and I’d wonder about my identity as a creative person. Check this out: God is such a good Papa, he loves me so thoroughly, that he recently decided to take care of even that little, occasional, passing doubt concerning my identity as a creative.
Remember these commercials? Hilarious. A bad actress’ voice coming out of a weight lifter’s body. A valley girl’s voice coming out of a couch potato’s body. A middle-aged wannabe ladies’ man voice coming out of a female dental hygienist’s body. The humor (and slight discomfort?) comes out of the disconnect; we know it’s inauthentic. We know that something is not right.
When I left for Colorado in February, I was already deep into feeling that disconnect within me. I knew there was a separation between the way I saw myself and who God says I am. I knew I could never fulfill God’s plan for my life as long as I was living with that disconnect. Trouble was, I had no idea how to bridge that gap. Four days in the beautiful mountains of Colorado spent focused 100% on God seemed like a great opportunity figure it out…with the Holy Spirit’s help, of course. So when each of us were asked on the first night to share why we were there, I said I wanted to learn what it meant to be a daughter of God. Well, he answered my request and then some, repeatedly speaking into my heart over the course of that weekend and restoring the identity I’d lost years ago.
There is a single factor, a thing with such astounding influence that, like the tendrils of the strongest vine, it reaches into nearly every area of life. This deep driver motivates our choices, colors how we see the world, and even defines our vocabulary. It determines how we interact with and view every other person on the planet. Depending on the source we pull from to define this powerful thing, it can be extremely helpful or completely destructive.
What is this frightfully compelling force? Identity.