Shame in Aging
I've never gone to a hair salon. Probably never will. And although I’m mostly a do-it-yourselfer, I can’t envision dying my hair at home. It was one thing to brightly skew hair color back in my days of punk rock immersion. But I’m in a different phase now. So, what happens when age begins revealing itself? When lines of silver start lighting up a once naturally dark crown – and orange, green, or purple doesn't strike fancy anymore?
An acquaintance (or two) has been brass enough to suggest I go for tinting, singing, “You've gotta wash that gray right out of your hair!” (You won’t recognize that jingle unless you’re old enough). And I seem to be rebelling, still. Just in a different way than during those music-genre-influenced teenage years. Other than that chapter, I've always left my raven crown alone. Oh, the sun had bleached my tresses to auburn during a ranching stint in the New Mexican high desert—but I didn't do a thing, honest! When I turned forty, I saw the first speck of silver. That speck turned into streaks within a few years. Soon and I might be sitting under a deluge. Yet I don’t seem to mind. I know…crazy, right? Even under the protestations of an acquaintance (or two). I happen to have a head full of long hair, so changes are not that subtle. My acquaintance doesn't understand why I’m not bothered by the alteration. I guess I’m not sure either, except that maybe I don’t feel there should be shame in aging, in growing older.
Whenever I've seen a woman with a head of hair who has allowed it to go natural, I’m touched with admiration for that person. To me it speaks something like, “I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’m going to let things do what they’re supposed to do without pretenses.” It also suggests a certain maturity and wisdom. I seem to especially like that person. There’s a kind of deep-seated joy in appreciating where you’re at, freedom in embracing the seasons of life. I have begun, at least, the graying season and I've discovered that I’m sort of partial to it. This also extends into the act of hair cutting. Why would I cut my long hair when I like long hair regardless of the color?
While we’re at it, I’m okay with my crow’s feet, too. Why not? I've laughed hard in life. Those lines are evidence of good times, and if you see them bunch up, crinkle, and wink, then I just may be having a good time right now.
Having said all that, I reserve the right to change my mind. But I doubt that I will. And if a person chooses to color his/her hair that’s fine, too; each person needs to do what’s right for them. I’m merely suggesting the right to fight against society’s pressure and expectation that we are to cut and dye once a certain age is reached. To that I say, Bah!
If you’re seeking inspiration or the courage to age, one of my friends has created a board for lovely examples of individuals who have chosen to stay natural – and they are striking! Check this out on Pinterest:
GOING PLATINUM and FALLING UPWARD
Happy aging! Face it, we all are.
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is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...