I started to see hints of my first graying roots about 10 months ago. I was shocked by my horrified reaction. But let’s go way back before that, when I was just a young’n, watching Oprah.
I remember sitting with my mom, doing our afternoon thang, (remnants of One Life to Live, General Hospital, followed by the clincher: Oprah,) and watching a show about women who feared aging. This was probably before Botox was mainstream, and the desperate-seeming, middle-aged women on Oprah’s couch were hungry. Hungry for any fountain of youth product that could freeze the hands of time, keeping them fresh and taut looking for-eh-ver. To my preteen self, it seemed so stupid. Why get worked up over something that’s inevitable? Turns out, there were also ladies on the show that expressed the other side, (whether real or projected,) that getting older was the coolest. They wouldn’t have it any other way, because as they’ve gotten older, they’ve gotten wiser, they’ve learned what’s really important, and learned more about themselves. The basically loved everything about being 30+, because they finally felt like their most authentic self. I jumped right on that bandwagon, and held that theory in the back of my mind throughout my formidable years. When times felt sucky, I remembered that things would likely improve. When my 20’s didn’t always live up to the hype, I thought, oh well. I’ll really have it figured out by 30. I do still prescribe to that hope.
Fast forward again to present day. Those first hints of gray, (actually bright-ass, unabashedly silver,) freaked me out. I was 28 at the time. This was not supposed to be happening yet, but there they were, and they were noticeable. I could no longer throw my hair back in a cute up-do without feeling insecure about my “salted brunette.” Maybe worse is the fact that I now find myself in the “hair appointment every six weeks” club, which is not something I’ve budgeted for. I accepted my $10 box of color fate for a good period of time until I started staining everything in my bathroom and my hairstylist pointed out my shoddy dye job every time I went in for a haircut. What’s a girl to do?
I am bothered by the fact that I’m so vain, and I that do think the song is about me. I wanted to be in that cool group of ladies that were just okay with getting older and embracing all the really great parts of it. Maybe I will be once I find a way to work the 6 week hair appointments into my budget, because after all, who doesn’t love having their hair done? Why all the hair shame ladies? Why do many of us feel bad about gray hairs? Why do I feel bad about feeling bad about my gray? Why am I unsure about whether to use “grey” or “gray” now that I live in Canada? Life is full of questions regarding this matter. I did a little exploring online and found a few different peeks into the minds of women as they age, and what causes the ever terrifying early graying experience.
Study Says Men Feel Old at 58, Women at 29 (Time) – It wasn’t until this summer, hanging out with a population of 18-21 year old Italians and Canadians, when I was like, whoa. I’m SO OLD. Am I really that old? No, but it didn’t stop me from telling those 18-21 year olds that they could call me, “Mama.” Yes, I really told them that and immediately regretted it. I’ve since made a conscious decision to stop talking myself older!
Why Are Today’s Women Going Gray at 25? (The Daily Mail) – I’m sure you can guess what the main culprit is.
How I Stopped Feeling Old in my Thirties (Huff Post Women) – I just really love this article. Read it.