Going Gray Ain’t Easy :: Why I’m Ditching the Dye

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The First Gray

I was 19 when I found my first gray hair. I was driving in my car, and glanced in the mirror at a stoplight. I nearly wrecked. Since I have hair that’s almost black, the wiry white strand stuck out conspicuously. So I did what any young woman would do in my situation – I plucked that sucker right out and went about my day, only mildly traumatized.

Chemically Dependent

I’ve been dyeing my hair in some form or fashion since I was 12. When I was younger, it was always about self-expression. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, however, it became more about covering those pesky grays that seemed to be popping up with more frequency. Now that I’m 29, a mother to a toddler and a nursing student, the stress-exacerbated gray hair I’m growing is covering a sizable portion of my head. So I have a choice to make: either dye my grays in a battle I’ll never win, or come to terms with the fact that genetics are simply not on my side. My mom went gray early, and I, too, will go gray well before most people.

Roll With It

As of the writing of this post, I’m choosing to gracefully accept this part of the aging process. It’s not an easy decision to stick with, though. The white hairs on my head are a completely different texture, sticking out at odd angles relative to the dark, thick, flat strands I have. They make me feel old. I have no control over what areas are going to go gray or the rate at which my white hairs will replace the dark ones. But because I simply can’t afford to throw money into the widening sinkhole that is dyeing my hair every four weeks, I’m not dyeing it. For now.

Silver Linings

Call it being cheap. I’d prefer to refer to it as radical self acceptance. Society makes us believe that only certain, predetermined things can be beautiful. I’m trying to lean in to the notion that we create our own beauty from the inside out; the way we carry ourselves, the light we bring to others, the way we love ourselves just as we are all make up our beauty. But I reserve the right to decide, either tomorrow or twenty years from now, to chemically treat my hair however I want. Because I don’t owe a certain look to anyone. That’s part of the joy of self-expression.

So for today, I’m going gray. I’ll be 30 in two months and I’m on my way to silver-fox status. It’s hard, but it’s out of love for myself. This gray doesn’t change a thing about who I am.

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