With enough money and the right tools, a person can look pretty much however they want to. (Dolly Parton does it with absolute pride!) You can be thinner, have a smaller nose or bigger boobs, reduce your wrinkles or plump up your lips, have amazingly contoured cheeks and make every grey hair disappear.
We all have our vanities… and trust me, there is no shame in this game. I love wearing makeup to help my face look fancy. I just like the way I look painted up a bit. I love dressing up and I feel more like me when I am wearing something nice. I love tattoos, and piercings, and jewelry to decorate my body. However, I don’t feel like I need to lose weight to like myself. I am comfortable in the skin I’m in.
The question of going grey gracefully, or preserving my dark hair to stay young-looking has been posed to me a lot in the last couple of years. Yes, I COULD dye my hair to look a bit younger. I could give myself any color that I want to enhance my look. In fact, some people think I SHOULD to avoid looking old before it’s time. (Like the kid in my class that compared me to a wicked witch last year.)
Fortunately, I have been blessed with genetically great hair. It is thick, wavy, and healthy. Honestly, I feel like it is my one true physical asset. I started life as a blonde, slowly changing into a rich, dark brunette by middle school. Most of my life I have worn my hair at a medium to long length (with a bob here or there… and don’t get me started on the “low maintenance” short hair I had in the early 2000’s!) I try to avoid heat styling it too often, give it a good wash with a quality shampoo every few days, and have only added color highlights to it a couple of times.
I saw my first signs of grey hair in my early twenties. I’d find an occasional stray grey hair and yank that sucker out! As time went on, the culprits became a little more frequent. My students would stand behind me in rehearsals and pull them out. (Not joking!) I didn’t really mind, because I’m not tender-headed and the hair culprits disappeared. Over the last five years or so though, the greys have begun sprouting on my scalp in droves and there is no turning the train around. They no longer feel like a minority, but rather a healthy smattering like silver icicles on a Christmas tree.
Sure, I could step into a salon once a month and lay down a lot of cash for a stylist to reverse the clock. I could go to Target and pick up a home kit to hide the grey. I could find a remedy to stop time for a while and try to decide when to allow myself to catch up. Or I could embrace my grey hair as a friend and wear it with pride. That is where I have landed. I have chosen to see my grey hair as a badge of honor.
Each silver strand tells the story of how I have become who I am today. They are named for the students who have driven me absolutely crazy! They tell the story of the ones I desperately tried to show love and kindness to… even when they didn’t want it. They represent every tear I have shed in moments of self-doubt, depression, and anxiety. They speak volumes about the stress, fear, and sadness I have lived through in the last couple of years. And loudest of all, they tell the story of the wisdom I have gathered in my 42 years on this earth.
I don’t want to see my grey hair as something to be ashamed of. I see it as my prize for still being here. They are the little silver medals that say, “She made it another day and is stronger now.” On top of all that, my grandmother, whom I very much look like, has the most lovely head of snowy, silver white hair. If I look half as good as she does, I will be proud to wear this crown. My grey hair isn’t a sign of weakness or defeat… it is my trophy!