I am now at that pivotal age, that crossover from going to the hair salon every five weeks for color for what used to be dark roots and is now gray roots. I don’t know when it exactly happened, as it creeps up on you slowly. Partly, you deny it, and as a highlighted blonde, this was easier to do as it blended in more easily, But it became harder and harder to deny that the grays were creeping in at an increasingly steady pace. Now, it is a monthly battle I wage, with Sean my colorist ,to hold back the inevitable onslaught of grays that threaten to take over my skull.
I follow a woman on Instagram whom I kind of worship (www.annikavonholdt.com). She has an incredible mane of lush and shiny iron gray hair. It is gorgeous, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that she is very beautiful and often photographs herself amongst the backdrop of an idyllic Caribbean island. I envy her hair, but more than anything, I envy her courage. How brave to be able to let it go of societal pressures and be able to own your aging hair, and even make it sexy. Could I allow myself the leap in confidence to eschew societal standards of beauty and my own self image and truly own the image of myself that mother nature keeps offering me? I’m not sure I am there yet.
As a society, we equate gray hair with old and dried up: as somehow lacking. But as women who want our daughters to feel empowered by their bodies and not ashamed by the aging process, how responsible are we and what do we owe them and ourselves? In a society where youth is king (or queen), we are conditioned to believe that aging must be fought at all cost. And cost it does, every month, through time and money and effort. I look at Annika’s posts on Instagram as a symbol of freedom: a lone gray haired goddess standing before a crystal blue ocean unaffected by the gathering storm clouds and wonder if she can ever be me.