15 Shades of Gray - part 2

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Eek.  I'm having some withdrawal symptoms this week.  I'm giving up the bottle.  L'Oreal #5AR.

I'm talking to women everywhere for support.

I got new glasses this week and spoke to the woman who helped me about her beautiful white hair.

Her name is Terri.  She used to dye her hair, until a friend got cancer.  "That scared me away from it," she told me.   "She had dyed her hair for years.  The argument is still out about what all those chemicals might be doing to the brain, but I just decided, it wasn't worth it."   To her surprise, Terri discovered she loved her natural color.

"That's the color I want," I told her.

Then, there's my friend, Cindy.

She has a hint of grays appearing on the sides and sprinkles throughout.  She could not care less about her hair color.  "This is what God gave me," she grins.

Then there's Theresa, the wonderful woman who works at my parents' ALF.

She's Italian.  Has snowy white hair and a lovely accent.  I want both of those things.

This week, I approached women (some I know, some I don't) about this hair color thing.  I told them I'm writing about this ritual we women have of painting our heads, and that I want to stop doing it.   I asked for their thoughts on the subject.

At first, they kind of looked around to see who was listening.  They stepped closer and spoke softly.  The topic of hair coloring is a sensitive, private, almost ceremonial practice and we all feel protective about its secrets.

But, then, they shared from the heart.

"I'd like to quit dyeing my hair, too," one woman said.
"I don't think my husband would want me to," said another.
A third one said, "When I started going gray, people told me, 'you need to dye your hair.  It looks awful'."

Good grief.  Are we under pressure to maintain the illusion of no-grays-here, or what?

No one ever remarked on my incoming grays.  I spotted them first and immediately thought, Oh my, we can't have this.  My mother never dyed her hair, so I don't know where the repugnance came from.  Somehow, somewhere, I just came to know that gray hair was not wanted.  I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.

This morning, I tried to get a picture of my roots and the new growth that is showing.  I have to admit, I'm not crazy about it.  

I think some of the problem is I don't like the color gray in general.  I don't own anything gray because it's not on my color wheel.  It always looks dull to me - flat, boring, dirty.  It's just not a color I relate to.  That's why I want white, angel hair.  Like Theresa's.  Like my Irish maternal grandmother had.

In reality, my Cherokee blood is going to override the Irish in me, and I suspect I'm going to have battleship gray hair.

This is going to be harder than I thought.



Mari said...

Good luck! I'll be waiting to hear how it goes. It's getting to be time for me too.

Andrea said...

The root thing is why I do the wash out kind of dye (when the spirit moves me to do anything). 5 years ago I had my hair colored for my sister's wedding (since she had commented on the gray and I didn't want to mess up her photos)...I misunderstood and thought I was getting the wash out kind. My gray is more around my temples and such, so instead I just had two tone hair while that slightly redder version of myself grew out. I finally got a short haircut at one point to get rid of the color.

Michael Ann said...

I admire that you are doing this, I really do. I think about it sometimes but am not ready. Don't know if I ever will be. I the wash-out kind and it's not THAT much of a hassle, but I still hate doing it. In fact, I am getting ready to do it this morning and just putting it off. It's such a pain. But I just feel I look "better." What is better? I don't know. Younger probably. I feel when my gray comes in, I look tired.

debi o'neille said...

I have a few gray coming, and my daughters want me to hop on the dye wagon. I'm not keen on increasing my chances for cancer, so I'm going to associate the word gray as just an abbreviated form of graceful. That sounds better. I will not be gray; I will be graceful.
Living as a clutz throughout my life, this sounds good to me. Also, like you, I'm hoping for snowy white, but my heritage is probably not going to allow it. :-)
Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

At times I wonder how I would look if I went grey and maybe one day I will find out just not today

Rita said...

Maybe it will look more angelic white than you think. Or naturally frosted. You can't judge by that tiny bit showing. ;)

Unknown said...

Oh my, I worry about the chemicals in hair colour too. Maybe I'll switch to henna.

I think I would be grey, not white.

Anyway... enjoying this journey of yours.