Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kicking and screaming... or embracing and rocking it?


I know it is a blessing. I have lost friends younger than I am now, have watched more go through tremendous battles with life threatening illness.

And I am blessed.

But I am also resisting it. Most especially, my true hair.

I don't know why my hair has always been such a tender spot on my self esteem, but it has been, and is.
I was a salon-assisted redhead for so long that when I started to transition away from it, people were shocked I had changed my "natural red" for anything else. My skin colouring loaned authenticity to my auburn locks I suppose. It looked right.
But I turned away from the red because my new natural silver highlights (or as my hair stylist likes to refer to it, my "mature blond") was making the roots far too obvious.
Now, with a medium brown base and dark copper highlights, I am still battling the roots. And frankly, I am tired of it. Not just the expense, though that is a serious consideration, but the feeling like I am cheating somehow. Like I am lying to all and sundry. I am tired of it. And if I am to be frank, I don't want to wander about in between dye jobs with half an inch of roots showing. I would cost hundreds to keep it perfect all the time, and I can think of far better uses for that money. How freeing it would be to just let it grow.

Walking away from red hair last year was a shatteringly difficult thing to do. I was not prepared for how emotional I was going to be, how strongly I identified myself with my red hair. It was like I had given up a piece of my identity. A piece of my soul.

Now, in deciding to go even further and have my hair lightened to what is apparently my natural colour (dark ash blond, I am told, though I have not seen it other than in a half inch of roots for decades) with a healthy dose of silver, I am rocketing between a feeling of freedom and absolute panic.

And why? I suppose it is society, that expectation that you will not age, or that you will fight it tooth and nail. And while there is a definite trend towards embracing our grey and white and silver hair, I still think it will be a sign I have given up, that I am getting older, not trying, or some other such tripe.

And it is tripe, isn't it?

I have heard people, men mostly, state they are "not ready to have a wife with grey hair."
That statement in and of itself angers me, yet I have allowed it to sway me. Greatly, it seems. It is fine for a man to have silver or grey, but Goddess forbid a woman let it happen.

I love when I see other women say to hell with it and let their natural colours free. I laud it.

But do I have the courage?

I have decided I need to do it. This summer I think. My stylist James has suggested we take out the dark colour, get it as close as possible to my natural hue, and add a couple of blocks of startling silver near the front where it is already the heaviest concentration. I can always add a little purple or bright blue to funk things up. And a new sassy cut, a little shorter than I am now, one that will not take forever to grow out the hair damaged by all the chemical intervention.

Hair. My damned hair. I have threatened a time or two to just shave it all off and let it grow out as it pleases. But I know I would regret that, and I have been there, done that.

I don't know just why I am so tender about it. But in the end, it is just hair. And I am nearly 50, dammit. I think I have earned the right to do as I please without regard for anyone else's thoughts on what MY hair should look like.

And still I teeter between those emotions.

Poor James. The hysterics that have occurred in his chair when I have made drastic changes before must have him almost breathing in relief at the thought of me deciding to go natural. Or mostly natural. We will see what the summer brings!


Vallypee said...

Stevie, I am not one to offer you solace other than to say I started going grey when I was seventeen, was completely grey at thirty two, dyed my hair for years until I reached forty six. By then I was living on a boat and it was just too much to cope with trying to dye my roots every two weeks, not to mention all the chemicals I was flushing into the river. So I gave up. I have now been 'embracing' my white hair for nigh on eighteen years and it is now part of who I am. I cannot imagine being dark haired (as I used to be) any more. I had to get used to ageing twenty years almost over night (other people's perceptions) but the upside is that no one thinks I've aged any more for the last fifteen years...Anyway, just to say it's OKAY to feel panic about it. I did. But it's also OKAY to have white hair...look at Emmy Lou Harris! It takes some getting used to, but in the end, it IS who we are and actually, it's pretty cool! xxx

Stevie said...

Thank you Val! I cannot imagine you with dark hair! I have always thought of you as a platinum beauty! I am still waffling as to what to do. I think I may start with changing my copper highlights to very light ones, and see where I go from there!
Oh the conundrum!


Vallypee said...

Oh bless you, Stevie! A platinum beauty? I wish! My photos must be more than kind! Anyhow, take it slowly. Going lighter in stages is how I did it. It took about nine months to achieve and a few radical cuts to chop off the dark ends, but it gets there. You have such a lovely young face, I think it will look great on you! Xxx