Is gray more than just a shade?

If you’ve ever heard of Shades of Gray, you can guess the title of this post is a play on words. But the question I’m asking myself lately is this:

Am I less then who I am if I go gray?? 

Here’s the back story: At the age of 47 I have been dying my hair for twenty plus years trying to cover up my gray. It could not be confused with sunny highlights, ever. No, this gray that sprouts from my roots starkly contrasts my natural dark brunette mane.

In my thirties, I felt I was too young to look old, so I dutifully colored my roots. Now getting my hair “done” every three weeks to cover up my glowing skunk strip (so lovingly named) is well, getting old.

Letting go of my dark hair has been one of profound personal struggle, just ask my hairdresser (thank heavens for her patience!) One appointment I’m done with the constant dying, the next I can’t go through with growing out my gray.

Recently I found myself pondering.

Who AM I if my hair is gray? Will men still find me attractive with gray hair or will I look too old? Am I less likable, pretty, educated, or less of a massage therapist? Will going gray change my core beliefs, values or friendliness? Is my self-worth wrapped up in my hair color? Of course not. But it sure feels like it sometimes. And why?? I don’t know the answer.

Just like I teach my clients, I must remember wellness isn’t just about healthy eating & exercise. It’s also about honoring our emotions, positive self-talk, setting healthy boundaries, and  practicing self-acceptance.

Going from dark hair to gray is not going be an easy transition. Let’s be honest, when has change ever been easy?

What I DO know is I will be using all my self-management tools to get through it (if I can at all) and if not ….I will offer myself the same empathy and understanding I would to my clients, my friends….anyone else.

Be well,

Michele

P.S. I share with you one of my favorite quotes:

“What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.” 
-Oprah

3 thoughts on “Is gray more than just a shade?”

  1. Well written, Michelle. This topic is one I, too, have struggled with for the last 20 something years. I have concluded that I “believe” I will allow myself to go “gray” after the age of 60. Thinking that at 60 I may be ready, and my family may be ready, for me to be my “older self” in the full color of “Gray”. : )

  2. Hey Michelle! Not ignoring your many online offers ~ just crazy busy! Today is my daughter’s 21st birthday; still sleeping in, so a few minutes to respond to this topic!

    First of all, a note of encouragement! You gave ME the courage to DO IT! Once you showed me the photo of the long haired silvered princess, I wanted to be her! I will be sending you a email with a photo attached from few months ago ~ you’ll be SHOCKED! (in a good way :>)

    Secondly, if we feel invisible (i.e. less ‘pretty’, less sexual, less desirable) it is because of our core beliefs about ourselves (per your ‘Oprah’ quote) and that shows more clearly in how we present ourselves than ANY other sort of physical attribute. When we are positive, clearly amped up about the world, it is then that people look you in the eye, and many overly bosom-ey women will fill reams of paper with how they feel minimized throughout their lives when others (probably mostly men) look at their chest first, or worse, WHILE they are talking. So this particular phenomenon doesn’t just apply to hair color. It is called self-confidence!

    Third, just this past week, I’ve encountered three old acquaintances who haven’t seen me in a while. Two were moved to run their hands thru my hair (remember being pregnant, and everyone wanted to feel your belly?) and all three were overwhelmingly positive and LOVED the silvery color! I do too!

    Mostly, it seems that what you are asking is for the reassurance (you can always dye it back, right?) of ‘Will this/I be OK?’ while you are in process. My original plan was to shave my head and go all gray at once, but I knew I would miss my (long) hair. Courage comes and goes, sometimes fails us altogether, but what decided me, besides your picture you showed me (don’t know if this is helpful or not) is that 3 friends have been diagnosed with cancer this year. Two are gone. After I thought it through, I realized that if I had to do all the REASSURING to OTHERS (‘No, I don’t HAVE cancer’) just to get the ‘courage’ to grow out my hair, I was seriously out of whack. So, that did it for me.

    See the photo in your email (don’t see how to attach it to this blog). If I am vain, so be it. I am so pleased with silvery-ness and how FAST mine has grown out ~ probably 4+ inches since May ~ I am relishing the process and I think that is how I am coping. It is a gradual change. I have gotten nothing but ‘Wow!” in positive feedback. I liken it to when I dyed my hair from having lots of natural red highlights to really red! My rationale was that redheads always got away with all kinds of outlandish (shrug of shoulders, ‘She’s a redhead? What did you expect?’) behavior. SILVERS CAN DO THE SAME THING!!! LOL
    Lots of love, and don’t over think it ~ I already did it for you!
    xoxo
    AMFM

  3. Well done Michele. Glad to hear you will “offer myself the same empathy and understanding I would to my clients, my friends….anyone else”. We are all so often so much harder on ourselves.

    Curious about the “WHY” behind your attempt to embrace your gray. You know, if you’re not ready, it’s okay. If you are ready, for whatever reason, and you find yourself short on “self-management” tools, call me.

    In the meantime, I reminding you – you are a beautiful, magnificent woman of courage, compassion and strength – regardless of your hair color.

    Enjoyed this post. You’re a great writer. Thanks for putting it “out there”.

    Karen

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