Okay, so it's been four months. I've been busy recovering from foot surgery, getting back on my feet, going places, doing things. Living my life. I am not making excuses, although I find it somewhat interesting that I have not really been inspired enough to write anything for this long -- me, who always has found catharsis in the written word.
Not for lack of subjects and opinion, mind you, this prolonged blog silence. I've read a lot. I've thought a lot. I've fretted and worried and given thanks and had moments of joy. I have thought "I need to write about that" but haven't done so. It has not been a priority.
At least part of my lack of writing here has been privacy-driven. Some of the things that have most cluttered my thoughts are difficult topics to deal with, and to write what I want to write could/would infringe on the privacy of others, and I am not yet able to dismiss that and do it anyway. And yet these are the topics that are often uppermost in my mind and in my heart. Tough stuff to learn, tough to process. And to admit it all, especially here. Not happening just yet.
Today, though, I strolled through a website that lists 25 posts from women who either have grey hair, are thinking about growing out their hair, or are currently doing so. And I'm here to add my two cents.
I've been grey for 10 years now and have never loved my hair and style more than I do today. Like so many of the women in those posts, I colored my hair for a number of years most specifically to deal with the grey that was coming in, and to maintain more of an age-neutral appearance when I was working in an industry with many far younger people who knew I was older, but not how much older. Yeah, I dyed it when I was in college and in my late teens and 20s just for fun (unlike many women who began to go grey in their 20s or 30s), but I spent a lot of time and money getting highlights over the years, and had gone back to dyeing it when I was in my late 40s mostly to cover the grey, and like so many women of that certain age, had gone auburn/reddish. (Why is that, do you suppose? Does every woman secretly want to be a redhead?)
When I finally broke down and went to a stylist in the San Francisco area, she gave me highlights and lowlights and styled it in several fun ways over the next six years. I had curls. I had waves. I had straight and shorter and shaggy cuts. I had burgundy and blonde and brown and platinum and gold and even bright red highlights and lowlights through her creative foils.
But when we moved here, out of the corporate arena, in 2003 and I no longer wanted to do that kind of upkeep on my locks, I decided to let it all grow out. It wasn't bad, either, although I kept it fairly short during that process. But there were no skunk lines on my hair part for me since my base color was all mine, and it was simply growing out highlights/lowlights, which had blended so well with my hair color anyway.
It's been periodically longer and shorter ever since, but the style is the basic bob -- one that works exceedingly well for my fine, very straight hair. And the color is amazing now-- greys and silvers mixed with the bits of brown, a streak or two of white, and overall shiny and healthy and something no colorist could replicate very easily.
My current stylist told me recently -- and not joking -- that she would have to refuse if I decided to color it again, not that I am thinking about it. I know that my hair color was a major factor in at least one person's decision to let her hair go back to its natural color, and hers is now a long, silky, silvery grey mix that beautifully frames her face and accents her eyes! And I know that I am lucky that my hair has become such a wonderful color, accented so perfected with the simple style.
I realize that hair color is a deeply personal decision, and that truly some people need some chemical help as they age to look and feel their best. And I also understand that some are reluctant to let go of the self-image they've carried for decades, believing that if their hair is still the same color, they will look younger. Not everyone is comfortable with allowing the grey to show; not everyone looks good with it, or feels good about it. It's all okay, whatever choice is made. (But make a choice, please, and follow through....)
Recently I was walking behind someone who had at least an inch and a half of white hair showing at the roots through the light reddish color of the rest of her hair. It was not flattering. I know women who are definitely past 60 who still color their hair the dark brunette of their youth -- but it doesn't match their skin tone or eyebrows anymore and usually makes them look older, not younger, and emphasizes the wrinkles and changes in skin texture and color. My mother had a friend who dyed her hair jet black until the day she died -- and it was such a harsh clash with her softer skin that it made her look sick and mean and angry even though she wasn't any of those.
We change as we grow older. Our skin develops those age and laugh lines, and tones soften. Our outlook is different; our priorities refocus. I believe this is reflected in the ways our bodies and appearances change too. Our greying hair softens our appearance, usually brightening and emphasizing our eye color, and goes with the changes in our skin and coloring. Grey hair doesn't mean you've given up on looking and feeling good!
I like this time of my life. I am more at ease in my aging skin than I have ever been, and with the wisdom and insight I have acquired (often painfully) over the decades. Do I love all the changes in my body and appearance? No. But I do what I can to look and feel good with them. And that is the most important change of all: being where you are, understanding the things you can change anda accepting the ones you can't. I'm grateful every day for it all.