Letting Go of Vanity

So here I am, living in a new place and teaching in a new school, with a new age group of students, in a new specialty. But I wanna talk about my hair. I am certainly late to the party on this. Many of my peers have walked before me, with varying results. I want to go back to my real hair color. What color might that be? Well, by now, certainly some shade or percentage of grey.

To provide background, my hair has defined me for most of my life. Judge if you must. My hair was very long in my youth. It was so dark brown that most described it as “black.” Painfully, a friend’s mother in my pre-teen years described it as a “rat’s nest.” I could sit on my hair for most of my elementary and middle school years. Not that I did. It was thick and long, the kind of hair that gets attention, both positive and negative. I did not appreciate it…I wanted the thin and silky hair that flowed like water over my shoulders and blew in wisps in the wind. When I once expressed a desire to cut it, a close relative told me that my hair was what made me special.

Enter my high school years and my Farrah Fawcett ‘do. My hair could hold a curl, was long, and there was plenty of it. An hour each morning to prepare this hair for the world was no problem. It was the least I could do.

In my twenties, pregnancy and its accompanying hair loss did not affect me at all. Sure, I lost a lot of hair. But I had plenty to spare. A few minutes with a curling iron could give me couture for days!

By the time my third child was a year or so old, I started seeing some grey hairs like those I had gleefully pointed out on my own mother at the same age. I plucked until I could no longer keep up, then began coloring. I was 32 years old.

My color has evolved with current styles over the years, and currently I am sporting a nice brown with subtle gold highlights. According to many, it is a great and youthful color. But here’s the problem…I don’t feel like it matches my face. Who am I kidding when I color my hair, every three and a half weeks? I am 56 years old and perfectly ok with that. Why should I not be ok with everything that entails? I am a grandmother. That is the best job I have ever had. I have had lots of life experiences. I am proud of those, for they have given me perspective. So as comfortable as I am with my age and my wisdom, why do I continue to spend time and money to make my hair look like I am not in my fifties?

I don’t know. But I am going to find out if it has been a mistake. In three days, I will be at my hair dresser’s salon getting my every three and a half week color. This time, however, it will be grey highlights. Hopefully they will blend my color while I grow it out. I am inspired by the women in my life who have either embraced their grey or not really noticed it. My hair has served me well for my entire life, but it no longer defines me. I am looking forward to a more authentic and natural me. I may not love it, but I will experience it…and go from there.


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