My mother went gray early-ish in life. She was in her early 30’s. All throughout my childhood, except for when I was really young, my mother had gray hair. In fact, I remember once when my mom and I were in the library and we got separated. Trying to find her I did the one thing everyone tells you when you get lost; I found another adult and told them I was lost and trying to find my mom. The concerned grown up asked me, “Well, what does she look like?” Now I could have gone several directions with this question. I could have told the lady she was wearing jeans and a red t-shirt. I could have said she had sunglasses and a black purse. Instead, I told the lady, emphatically, that she had gray hair.
Growing older is a fear of many people, probably due to the fact that we can never predict how it’s really gonna go. Sure, you can be preventative; eat right and exercise, take your vitamins. But there are some things that you can’t control. One of which is how old you are when you begin to go gray. Of course you can buy the solution in a box, but hair graying is completely hereditary. Now, my mom’s approach to going gray was to just let it happen. She seemed completely cool with the idea of having a full head of gray hair. I really admired her for it in my later teens years. By not coloring her hair, she was telling her children to not be afraid of going gray. To embrace it. I resolved to have the same attitude. Then I got my first gray hair.
Anticipating an event and your accompanying emotions is WAY different than reality. The night I found my first gray hair I panicked, called my boyfriend at the time and cried. Now, to be fair, he had started to go gray way before I did, so he may have been a bit more used to the concept. He’s such a compassionate, loving man and I knew he’d know how to comfort me……
He stifled a laugh. Although in his defense, he did tell me, “I’m sorry”, whilst doing it so that definitely took the sting out of it. Totally. 😀 We are married to each other now and I frequently tease him about his reaction.
In the years since, I have stood at the bathroom mirror many a time with a pair of tweezers, isolating those pesky gray hairs and extracting them from my life. In related news, have you ever tried to tweeze a gray hair, only to go in and extract a perfectly naturally colored strand? That’ll boost your self-esteem!
Now I write all this and still think….WHY does this bother me so much?? Surely my mother was more confident than I. Is this a failure on my part? Not at all. I’m human. Recently I found a Facebook meme that said the following-or close to it-along with gray hair, my memory is starting to suck-:
“That is not gray hair, I’m just slowly turning into a unicorn!”
That’s a good way to think about it. Aging is inevitable. What we have to learn to do is to not take things so seriously, embrace our inner unicorn, and start believing we are just as beautiful as we were when all our hair was one color.
I’ll see you tomorrow. Cheers!