Gray Isn’t A Color. It Is A Feeling.

Dear World,

I looked in the mirror about a week ago and I realized that I had a few extra gray hairs that were not there previously. I vent this to you because my husband has had gray hair for most of his life, in the form of a birthmark, so he is unsympathetic to this phenomenon of aging. I typically do not stress over the thought of getting older but for some reason a few grays seem daunting to me.

I have had the onset of grays  for many years now. They would pop up and reek havoc on my smooth head of hair one at a time.  As if a stray gray hair wasn’t bad enough, they find a way to never go where you want them to. Gel is no match for them. They defy all attempts at creating a smooth and clean look. They are course and unruly like the people that I serve at work and for that I am even more irritated.

Over the course of the past few years these said, gray hairs, have appeared and disappeared. I have gotten highlights a few times which made the grays fit in a little better. I have rolled my eyes when a hair dressers says to me “oh there aren’t any grays here” and then puts a streak of light hair in that spot to cover them. They are surely present and as I look in the mirror today I wonder what it is about a gray hair that makes me so crazy.

Brian tells me all of the time that he finds older women that embrace their gray hair attractive. I don’t feel less attractive having them, but I can’t help but focus on their existence. Why is it that a small hair that is a different color makes me suddenly feel so old?

To those of you who are older than I, please don’t take offense. I am by no means considering myself to be “old” so to anyone that is my senior please know that I am not putting down your years of youth. I am more or less pondering the hold that a tiny hair has on my opinion of myself. How did this hair become so powerful?

It is like looking in the mirror and seeing these impostors, that I am reminded daily that something is changing in myself. I would love to think of myself as a wine, better with age, but the truth is that I am probably more of the vinegar varietal. While I do attribute some knowledge that comes with age, I am not so sure if I should be considered a fine wine.

I am fully aware that the affect of a gray hair on my head is zero. It will not affect how I work, play, cook, love, hate, fight, exercise etc. It has no bearing on anything other than the appearance of my hair….. and yet it bothers me.

Don’t act like I am vein either. There are more than enough of you out there that are also intimidated by these stray brillo pad hairs. I am not the first person, male or female, to feel less than welcoming to their arrival.

To be totally honest, I wish that they were on my head since childhood. I think Brian is lucky in a way. He doesn’t see the color of those hairs as anything to do with age, however for me, it is all about age.

It is all about what changes my body and mind will go through. It has every detail of getting older wrapped up in a course, wiry, brillo pad stray hair that has inhabited my head.

I already see changes in myself that have come with age. Ten years ago, I was riding roller coasters and enjoying amusement parks over summer break. Today, I am scared to swing on a swing set too high. I went camping this past weekend and took a ride on a pontoon boat. I am sure that it will be the last time I am invited on a boat! Every wave scared me and I felt like I was on some mega roller coaster ride. I have turned into my mom.

I feel like the gray hairs have come and now I will be the mom that pushes the stroller and holds all of the stuff while everyone else rides the rides. I crossed a line into  “I no longer feel young” land and I’m not sure if I should be here.

It is kind of ironic because at least ten years ago I was saying that I felt like a ninety year old in a twenty-four year old’s body. I always felt older than the people that I was around. I guess now that I am actually getting older visibly, that it is sort of playing a mind game on me.

I really want to be able to embrace the gray but I am just not sure if we are on the same team yet. One or two were hide-able and doable but a whole bunch just popping up are a little less welcomed. And to be honest, why don’t the grays pop up on the bottom of your hair?

I would care less if I pulled up my hair and had a streak of wisdom on the bottom of my pony tail. Instead it will be in my face line. This is why grays are so hated. They couldn’t possibly come up slow in a indiscreet spot. Nope, lets take root right where we can see ourselves each day. You think I’m vain!

We can all pretend that a few grays mean nothing but I think that the reality is, that they are another way that life tests us. You may feel on top of your game but up sprouts a few grays and suddenly you are packing your bags for the nursing home and your food is being served puree form. Gray hairs are an international symbol for old and nobody can deny that.

I am looking to think past international symbols and create my own. Today, gray is the new youth. It is vibrant and feisty. It will kick your ass if necessary just as long as you don’t ask it to get on a pontoon boat. I’m going to pull out my grays that refuse to conform to the smooth protocol and if they choose to multiply, that is their loss because I will pull out their friends also.

In all reality, I won’t pull them and I won’t have enough money to dye them. They will continue to grow on my head and I will have to learn to share a space with these outsiders. I guess that is what life is all about. Welcoming the ones that are different and learning something if you can.

Love, Cherise

P.S. If stray purple hairs were sprouting, I would be writing a post about how youthful I feel. So I blame it on the fact that gray isn’t just a color. It is a feeling.

2 thoughts on “Gray Isn’t A Color. It Is A Feeling.

    • Well I’d love to dye on a regular basis however it seems to be a luxury that I can’t always afford. So it seems that I will be collecting a few more grays in the meantime!

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