I don't know a basic fact about myself.
I know my blood type and parentage, what I don't know, really know, is the color of my hair.
I know what color it used to be. A dark blonde.
It's been super blonde for a really long time. In the 1980s, I discovered Sun-In before my mom realized what happened and it was off to the races. I’ve been light blonde ever since. Other than that moment in college when my hair was red, black, and burgundy.
I’ve been wondering. What do I really look like under those highlights?
Recently I’ve been noticing the time between touch ups is stretching longer and longer. Maybe my hair finally complied and started turning light blonde on its own?
A close look at the mirror reveals that yes my hair is getting lighter. But not blonder. The stray gray hair of my thirties has turned into something more. The sprinkling has evolved to a dusting and now, I suspect, I’ve got a snow storm hidden under this sunny California color.
I was in the mall the other day and passed by a stranger who's hair struck me as beautiful. She was so chic. She'd let her hair go gray and almost white all over. I stood behind a display and stared at her for a moment. I found her fascinating. Her hair conveyed confidence and almost magic, and I had to tell her.
“Your hair is fantastic,” I told her.
“Really,” She asked and I nodded yes. “Thank you. I was scared at first.”
Am I scared to go gray?
My mother and grandmother both went gray young. My mom said that at first, yes, it is scary. She said it felt almost brave going gray. Not parachuting brave, but just a little flinty to have flinty hair.
My grandmother, who was undisputedly beautiful, also fussed about her white hair.
The worries a woman has about going gray are easy to list. Will we look old, weak, or tired? Certainly my mother and grandmother didn’t.
How would going gray impact my job? I work with a lot of twenty-year-olds. Honestly I don’t think they can tell the difference between forty or seventy. They probably think I’m seventy so who cares?
Would my bosses or potential employers think me too old to promote or listen to or hire? Maybe. But then again my boss is gray too.
So here’s the real gray area, there a difference between a gray haired woman and a gray-haired man. One is your grandma and one is your CEO.
These days going gray in a world filled with fillers, peels, surgery, and filters is almost an act of rebellion.
I am 47. The same age as Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Jackman, Owen Wilson, Gwen Stefani, and Will Smith. They’re not letting their gray show. And trust me, they have it. Maybe I better stay Stefani Blonde? She’s having a good year.
There’s a woman on Walking Dead, Melissa McBride, she’s gray. The hottest character on the show is in love with her and she kills zombies like a boss. A woman boss.
Maybe it’s time to go Melissa McBride Gray. Zombie killing gray.
Originally Published March 23, 2016 – Monroe News