I made the decision last spring to grow in my grey hair. Or to grow my colour out – either way, it’s been terrifying. And I have at least another 6 inches of bleached blonde hair to grow out before I’m done. The last year or so has taught me a lot about my perceptions, my fears, and my identity.
I feel vulnerable all the time
I feel sloppy. In the early stages of growing out my greys, it looked like I hadn’t been to the hair dresser in a while. Then as the dark roots got longer, I felt and continue to feel even sloppier because there is quite a colour difference between my natural and dyed colour.
I walk around with my grey hair just out there. In the open. People can see all 50 shades of it. It’s frightening. It’s like I’m letting my true self that I’ve kept hidden for a long time out in public. I feel all soft and vulnerable and sometimes I just want to cover up. I am hopeful that through being vulnerable, I’m actually becoming stronger.
I’m tempted to say, “To heck with this” and dye my hair
There are so many great looking older people who dye their hair. I’d hesitate to guess their ages because they look quite a bit younger than they likely are. By going au natural, I’m automatically going to look older than a lot of people my age and maybe even some others who have a decade or two on me. In some ways this could help me: I might be seen as having more experience; or it could hurt me: oh, she’s so old. (Old said with two syllables: o-old.) I also worry about becoming invisible. Again, by addressing these fears head on, I have been able to question and challenge my assumptions about the perceptions I and others have of me. And I’ve needed to do it repeatedly.
I had hoped I would be greyer. Then I could be more noticeable. More striking. Unfortunately, except for my temple area, which is pretty much white (I’d make a great bride of Frankenstein), I’m mostly pepper with a healthy dose of salt sprinkled throughout. It seems kind of average. I’m not good with average. But feeling that discomfort and dealing with it has helped me to challenge my self-perception and challenge what I think is my identity. I’m shaping a new identity every day.
I’ve received some really nice compliments
All of this vulnerability, fear, and disappointment aren’t the only things I’ve experienced. Others have shared that my hair looks really great, and that they are even considering growing in their greys. If you’re considering it as well, I hope you find the above to be helpful in preparing you for the transition. In the meantime, here is some picture inspiration.