The other night my beloved husband was running his hands through my hair as we sat on the couch watching the kids play and notice a quizzical look on his face. I also noticed he was slowly moving his hand through my hair drawing it up and out. Then it dawned on me.
“You’re looking at my gray hair aren’t you?”
“Um, you’re, um, what?”
“My gray hair. You’re looking at it aren’t you?”
He then quietly answered “I haven’t really noticed it before. You said it was graying but I hadn’t noticed it before.”
Mind you Mike is carrying a lot of salt these days with his own head of pepper so it is not like graying is a shock. And I did tell him about the time I found a silver eyebrow! He even joked “Welcome to my world.” But somehow catching it in the light as we sat there it was a realization. As the years go by neither he nor I are getting younger. Nope, I am not the same set of 18 year old kids who met during our freshman year of college. No, instead we are both aging. Like every other person who has ever existed we are now slowly but surely aging. And we are slowly but surely moving into our new “middle aged” selves.
I told him, oh so nonchalantly, I was planning on probably just letting it go gray. I actually do like the silver hue the new hair that is growing in has. I always wanted to have long silver-gray hair, for some reason I have always found it to be quite stunning. Women with it seemed to be in charge of themselves, to command a space that I wished to one day occupy. A certain sense of confidence in themselves to defy norms and social pressure about hair that has an effect on women (and girls) of all ages.
So on one hand I feel empowered to own the changes in beauty that life brings with it. To embrace a sense of the natural beauty that is often overlooked in our culture. But if I am honest there is an on the other hand part of me wants to run to hide the changes time has brought to my hair. I am fully aware of how gray hair for years was a sign that a woman was beyond her prime, that she ain’t what she use to be; while a man was seen as being more distinguished as he ages.
Even hair color for men commercials and products warn men of pushing it too far by coloring all of their hair, that leaving some gray gives them an advantage. I have yet to see a woman’s hair color commercial offer a similar suggestion. The social cues are not subtle. And while some folks may point to Kelly Osbourne or Lady Gaga and the current hipster trend of dying one’s hair gray as gray being embraced as part of aging well not so fast because unless they dyed it to mask being actually gray it’s not the same thing as actually having your natural hair color leave you without your own consent.
Still I am thinking of just going with it. Embracing it and seeing where I am in a few years.
After all this is a pretty stunning and beautiful look in my eyes.
What say you? Have any of you embraced your inner silver beauty?