Saturday, November 10, 2012
I am done with hair color. That is all.
The basis of my decision to let my gray hair grow out (after 30 years of dying it), was the fact that I realized I didn't want to pretend to be young until I could pretend no longer. To suddenly be old was not an attractive idea, and as for that thing of lying about your age, or being flattered when someone thinks you're younger? Forget that. What a horrible way to live, having to keep up a youthful pretense all the time. I decided to take it one step at a time, to be with the aging.
It was a process, growing out my gray hair. There were highlights and lowlights and faders and developers. It took so many chemicals my hair was like straw for most of a year. Finally, my hair guy cut off the last of the color. I was in shock, but quickly got used to it. It was a good decision, a kindness I did for myself, a step on the path of being with my aging, rather than fighting against it.
It was right after high school I began coloring my hair, which is not a bad thing if you ask me. It's artful. I've had every color of hair from platinum blond to superman black, both of which looked awful on me. I did best with auburns, reds, and shades of brunette. During the 1980s my hair was hennaed - a process that creates a very intense eggplant type of color. Once I dyed my hair purple. It looked really good, I swear it did. I had highlights, streaks, layers of color. I did it all, year in and year out.
In a sense, my years of hair coloring are a perfect metaphor for the pursuits of early and middle adulthood - to go all out, try everything, experiment. In early adulthood, youth in combination with hormones provides plenty of juice to go for it on every level, including with regards to hair color. Why the hell not?
Growing older, there's no choice but to take things down a notch or two. Time becomes so precious. All those hours I used to spend at the salon I am now keeping for myself, thank you. Life is so different now than it was when I was 40. It's interesting to think about.
My silver/gray/metallic hair, as it turns out, is the coolest natural color I have ever had. Before I was allowed to color my hair, it was somewhere between mousy brown and dishwater blond. I'm glad I had fun with my dull, dreary early adulthood hair by coloring the hell out of it. On the verge of age sixty, I'm glad to let go of that pursuit for the duration. Onwards and upwards.
Growing older is somewhat harrowing, but so rich an experience. Early old age is good, I am grateful. Shalom.