Thursday, October 2, 2014

Paint Your Hair

So, it finally happened, the thing I have been waiting on for 10 months. It went way better than I thought it would.

Sweet little girl, big blue eyes, button nose, long blonde hair verbally sucker punched me last night at work.

I work at a library and I was checking out her books for her when she said, "You should paint your hair."  She said it with wide eyes, all truthful like.  There was no malice behind her words - she was just passing along some information.

I knew immediately what she meant.  I quit coloring my hair last November, and in June I finally was able to cut the last of my permanently dyed hair away, revealing a pixie cut full of silver.

(FYI, it IS silver, NOT gray.  Ever.  Always Silver. As in 'Silver Fox', thank you very much.)

"Nope, no paint for me,"  I answered with a smile, "I like it just like this."

I didn't know that I did like it.  Go figure.  Out of the mouth of babes and all that jazz.

I started going gray at 27.  When I had our third child at 30 my sprinkling of gray had grown to full blown waterfall.  I started coloring it it a couple of years later when a family member pointed out that they could officially count more silver hair than brown.  Over the last 5 years, in between coloring, I noticed that my skunk stripe had widened quite a bit.  Last year I decided that when I turned 40 I would quit coloring my mop and see what was really going on under there.

Over the last 10 months I have taken more selfies that any woman my age should.  I was just so curious! In the beginning I was curious about what I would look like once it had grown out - would my skin look more sallow?  Would it age me?  Would people now think that I was older than 40?  What would my husband think?  What would my friends think?

I read blog upon blog about going gray.  Yes!  There are blogs devoted to this phenomenon. I pinned pictures of silver-haired ladies like a fiend. I talked about it incessantly. I even talked to other people about it incessantly.

As the months grew on, and the gray kept coming I was befuddled. I did not feel like a Silver Fox.  I felt like a woman who was on her way to an unknown destination and no one had bothered to fill her in on what she needed to pack.  Honestly, this whole '40' thing wasn't as great as I imagined it as kid. I grew up watching Oprah and she said 40 was amazing, and that 50 was even better. Ha! Watching the color grow out of my hair made me feel like all of the vibrancy was leaving, as well.

I was committed to growing out my gray partly because I had made a big deal about it to myself.  I also just didn't want to spend the time and money on the upkeep it was taking. I also liked how silver hair looked on other women.  Apparently that was key: I liked the idea of gray hair on other women who weren't me.

 I felt betrayed by my hair that I had always been so good to.  I always deep conditioned once a month or so, brushed and treated it kindly. I never said things like, "I hate my hair!", because I did not hate my hair. I loved it. It was thick, and healthy and a nice chestnut color.  People always complimented me on hair.

So, there it was. I was a little vain.  Nobody was saying anything about my hair because they didn't care.  Friends, family, and total strangers were just living their lives not actually thinking about my hair color.

Imagine that.

Turns out I don't think much about my hair anymore, either. It's just there, up on top of my head being silver. But only in the front. If I look real closely I can still see some of the beautiful chestnut color coming through. The back is still (mostly) brown, but what can I do?   It's just hair, right?

That sweet little girl who suggested I 'paint' my hair enlightened me. I had no idea that I liked it until I answered her so readily.  By the way, her mother was nearly speechless saying, "I'm sorry - I'm a hair dresser."  I quickly let her know that I knew her little girl was just being honest.

Turns out, so was I.


Only two of my 749 selfies. You're welcome.


  1. Now I'm imaging you letting the kids attack your hair with poster paint, resulting in Lego Batman living on the back of your head...

    Which, actually, would be kinda cool....

    "oh, you want me to forgive your fines? Let's see what batman has to say!" (Head swivels) "Darkness! No Parents!" (Head swivels) "Sorry, sir, Batman says no."

  2. I think your hair looks absolutely fabulous!! It is like you went and highlighted it the perfect silver.

  3. You look marvolous darling! Never change, I will keep the chesnut hair for both of us lol.

  4. I will be joining you much sooner than I had anticipated.

  5. Your hair looks great and I love the new cut - perfectly frames your face. I am still painting my hair - it's my daughter's fault. She IS a hairdresser : )