Going Grey; The Real Deal of Momentous Decisions

This process of aging, getting older, cresting into middle age is not for sissies, people!

Related to that, I've decided to go grey. I can no longer keep up with the root touch-ups, salon visits, and highlighting work that is required of those of us who don’t walk around with their natural hair color.

This is me when at age 33 - already coloring my grey. (Side note: Jack was practicing his "I'll-only-show-my-2-front-teeth-in-this-awkward-smile" phase.)

This is me when at age 33 - already coloring my grey. (Side note: Jack was practicing his "I'll-only-show-my-2-front-teeth-in-this-awkward-smile" phase.)

And in the wake of this decision I have found 3 reactions to this decision of mine.

#1
“Good for you! Why not! It’s easier! It’s the real you! Celebrate all the years that went into making your hair just the color it is.”
#2
<long pause> <long pause AGAIN while looking me up and down> “Why? Why would you want to do that? I mean, you’re not THAT old!"
#3
“Well, good for you, I guess. You can always color it again if it looks too mousy or if you don’t like it.”

(Reactions #2 and #3 are usually the peeps that regularly get their "color done." My decision puts them on edge. They feel like I think they should do what I’m doing. I don’t! I promise! But people can’t help but think about whether or not someone else’s decision should be theirs, too. So – as you can tell it’s complicated.)

My twin sister and I - age 6, maybe? - nary a grey hair on our sweet little baby heads.

My twin sister and I - age 6, maybe? - nary a grey hair on our sweet little baby heads.

But I promise you - the work of staying brunette was not worth it for me. For starters, I was too cheap to actually “get it done” somewhere. So I regularly added hair dye to my grocery list and just chose something darkish brown.

So why is that a big deal? It just became something I concentrated on way too much. I tended to feel less put-together, less confident if I hadn’t maintained my color well. These were unattractive moments of mine - not just externally – so silly that a tiny bit of a grey skunk line appearing down the part of my hair would cause such consternation! But it did.

This is why I decided to just go grey.

My mom tells a funny story from years ago of going out for a run one morning after all her kidlets were off to school. She stopped to say hello to a friend who had slowed down in her car as she was passing. They had a nice little friendly chat. Then, back at home, mom noticed that she had little rivulets of auburn-colored sweat-dye running down the sides of her face – an obvious “bad dye job” dead giveaway. Apparently THAT was the day of my mom’s ultimate decision to become the silver fox. This is a story about which I have thought of often as I headed in the going-grey direction..

Here's a pic that Megan's sister Katie took. I colored my hair out of a box that very morning. 

Here's a pic that Megan's sister Katie took. I colored my hair out of a box that very morning. 

Am I sometimes nervous about what I've done? For sure?  Is this some mid-life crisis, let’s-go-crazy, will-definitely-regret-it-later type of decision….you know the kind like when you decide to let the guy at Fantastic Sam’s (remember Fantastic Sam’s?) cut your hair with ALL the LAYERS because you just met him 9 minutes ago and he has the perfect plan for you and knows just what you are trying to describe? That is the kind if decision I fear I am making.

But most often I am peaceful about it. I'm hopeful that it's a wise move forward – a move that matches my age, the state of my current life and also perhaps a statement (even if only to my own heart) about authenticity. 

My sisters and I. Aren't they cute? This is at the beginning of the process. My hair is dyed blond to make the grey look a little less obvious as it grows out. 

My sisters and I. Aren't they cute? This is at the beginning of the process. My hair is dyed blond to make the grey look a little less obvious as it grows out. 

These decisive moments seem like risks. They seem brave and certainly feel brave to me. You’re in essence stepping out and saying, "I know we try to hide these grey hairs with lots of money and time and salons and colors and heat but I want you to know what is really going on. All this time – my hair wasn’t actually L’Oréal’s chestnut darker brown. It was actually kind of salt and pepper with a grey or silver streak here or there." It’s a confession of sorts, an admission to society that I wasn’t quite who I said I was and now – here’s the real deal.

At the Brian Regan concert in August - plenty of grey hair there! Am I really doing this?

At the Brian Regan concert in August - plenty of grey hair there! Am I really doing this?

The real deal, indeed.

Ladies I open wide the gates of acceptance for us all. If you want to dye your hair until you are 112, I think you’re darling. If you decide to go “cold turkey” someday with your hair, call me! Let’s celebrate this moment of bravery! And for those of you who will TRULY never have a grey hair in your head, I simply offer my heartfelt blessings to you for superior pigment skillery. You are an anomaly and the hair industry sheds a tear every time they see you for you will never truly need their services. 

Have you made any brave decisions (hair related or otherwise) lately? How'd it go? 

And here's a pic with the silver fox herself! I think it's in the genes. Why fight it? It's a losing battle anyway!

And here's a pic with the silver fox herself! I think it's in the genes. Why fight it? It's a losing battle anyway!

Holly's Take: 

This process has taken some real commitment. I am squarely in the camp of root touch ups right now and can see why you wanted to throw caution to the wind and say "die" to dye. I want to know if you feel different walking down the street? More confident? More freedom? Do you at all care what others think or are you so past high school? Have you wanted to punch anyone in the stomach, because of their reaction? (Don't answer that if it was me). I love the new you, because it's the same you and you are one of my faves, forever, when we all have locks of silver! 

Megan's Take:

I'm just plain proud of you! You're doing it. You're being you! Not that dying hair or wearing make up or getting a facelift ISN'T us -- it's just that sometimes those things mask deeper insecurities. It's interesting to come face to face with the things that we don't think we could ever show the world because somehow that would indicate we are "less than" or not pretty enough by the world's standards. Each of us has our own thing. For so many years that has been wearing make up for me. I remember in college, a guy friend (this always makes it worse right?) asked me why I wore SO MUCH make up? I remember feeling a like I had just been 'caught' or 'judged.' I suppose it didn't help that I went to a hippie school so I stood out like a geisha. They didn't shave their legs or take many showers either. It took me a lot of years before I felt comfortable letting people see me without make up. It took just as long for me to embrace wearing flats over heels. Baby steps. I, for one, think you're one of the most BEAUTIFUL people I know!! And you come by it very honestly. #silverfoxesunite

PS -- The hair industry sheds a tear every time they see me. The anti-aging face cream industry, however, rejoices. #keepingitreal