Thursday, November 29, 2007

Going Gray?


This book, Going Gray, keeps popping into my universe. I have been eyeing it for a while, even saw the author, Anne Kreamer, on one of the morning talk shows. I still was not tempted to read/buy it because, well, I've been there/done that. The author's going gray refers to her allowing the gray to show, to stop dyeing her hair. I never did dye mine. But today I read a review of the book on Terry Grant's blog. These are the words that Terry quoted from Anne that struck me: "if you can stop worrying about what others might think of your hair color, and of feeling obliged to wear camouflage, then you free yourself up to think about other things—that by abandoning the small stuff you may make room for the big." To me it's all about authenticity.

Now I admit, my hair is not gray, but white. I went white at 42 - young, I think. But let me tell you - I have people, women, teenagers and men, teenage boys even - strangers all, tell me how beautiful my hair is. At an age where most men no longer take notice of me, or any woman of a certain age, it's nice to have a stranger in the elevator, on the street, in a restaurant, tell me I have beautiful hair.

I know of a couple of women who have decided to go gray because of me. And I think they look better for it. Gray softens our look as we age. It goes with the softening of our skin, the softening of our moods, and need I mention, the softening of our shape. It's about accepting who we are, where we are in this journey of life.

Silly me used to think I was the only one of my friends who had gone gray. DUH, the minute they saw gray, out came the dye. I had no idea, really. Dyeing hair is like a foreign culture to me, not to mention the cost and the time involved. I can't sit still long enough to get a manicure. And if/when I do, it's ruined the very same day once I get back into the studio. My hands are my tools for heavens sake. But back to hair. I have another funny story. One day, a few years ago, I went to pick up my youngest at teammate's house. I guess Kelly was about 10. The girl answered the door and yelled back into the house, "Kelly your, uh, mom, uh, (now fallen to a whisper) your grandma....uh...uh.. SOMEONE'S HERE FOR YOU."

So what's the point of this entry? That's for you to decide. I know many of my readers probably have a gray hair or 2 on their head. And I figure most of you also have dye on your hair. You look beautiful, each and every one of you. I'm not lobbying to get you all to go gray, but I just wanted you to know you'll still be beautiful if you do. My mama always said that beauty comes from the inside. I know you know that too. Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Gray hairs seem to my fancy like the soft light of the moon, silvering over the evening of life. Jean Paul Richter

23 comments:

Barb said...

Early gray runs in my family. I dyed at first, but then I started expressing myself more (writing, sewing, beading) and it just didn't fit anymore. As Popeye so eloquently points out, "I yam what I yam." I've also been mistaken for my son's grandma because of my hair, but I just smile sweetly and say, "No, I waited until I grew up before I had a child..."

Who we really are is just great.

Deborah said...

Thanks so much Lesley. I have lots of gray -- almost as much as my mother, in fact. (Not sure how that happened.) I assume nearly all my friends dye their hair. (We do live in Texas. Beautiful hair is a specific expectation.) I am continuing to resist dying and hoping that an excellent hair cut and a spunky personality will glisten more than the gray.

misti said...

I had a librarian in middle school who had gorgeous long grey hair. I loved her hair. I have always wanted to go white instead of grey. I'm blonde but it has darkened over the years and I don't know which way it will go. I'll have to check that book out sometime.

katie said...

a timely post for me - i decided this past october on my 50th birthday that i was finally going to let my hair go to it's natural gray (not sure if it will be a silver or white, but it will be solid :-) my hair was all gray by my late twenties and i just wasn't ready to let it be. now that i'm "more mature" i wonder what the me without the color really looks like. i heard about this book a month ago; adrianna huffington wrote it up in one of her articles. i've got one inch of gray growout right now; when i get 1.5", i'm heading into the aveda salon in downtown seattle to have one of the hair artists do some blending to make the transition less drastic for me. your white hair is beautiful and it suits you perfectly; i hope i find i can wear it beautifully too....

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

I'll have to check out that book. I've always known that I wouldn't color my gray hair, but now that it's really starting to show, I have had my doubts about my resolution. Sometimes I look around and think I am nuts -- everybody else is dyeing, so I'm going to look so old! But then I stop to think for a minute, and I realize that I know a lot of women who do not color their hair, either. So I'm not alone, after all.

It can be very hard to accept who you are in this crazy culture of ours. I hope that by letting my hair grow gray naturally, I can start to come to terms with my aging process, and maybe help others accept their own aging as well.

Kim said...

I have always looked forward to birthdays... maybe some day someone will notice I have grown up (sort of). To this end I have never tried to cover the grey in my hair. I rather look on them as badges of honor, all gotten through the process of living life. Especially with children! Carry on, sister, I am marching right beside you! Kim

carolyn said...

I have a grey streak coming through my part line and I LOVE it and I love being able to be myself and not worry about the attention I attract. Growing up blonde attracts all kinds of attention especially when it's not wanted. I'm older and wiser and thankful for each grey hair.

Natalya said...

I only have a few gray hairs now, but thanks to my mom and others like you - I am looking forward to going gray!

~*~ Patty said...

Another thought provoking and totally enjoyable post! I too have never dyed my hair, I'll turn 58 in a couple of days. A couple of years ago when my first gray hairs were coming in on the sides, I kidded my Mom that I would have gray hair and she would have black hair. She stopped dying her hair soon after that conversation. It's a lovely color gray and I will be happy to have the same when it all comes in! Your hair IS beautiful, so happy to hear it's REAL! Glorious moon glow picture too!

decorative-wall-art said...

I enjoyed visiting your site and reviewing your lovely art. I too am growing "strands of wisdom". It can be a little un-nerving at first, but I find it suits the changes I'm experiencing. Yes, you're right, it "softens" the aging look a bit : )

I enjoyed your art. would you be interested in displaying it as fragment wall art on my web site?

Keep up the beautiful work! : )

Anonymous said...

I've never been a hair salon kind of gal and have been grey towards white for years now (58). My job to show my sibs how they would really look? But I wanted to mention a friend who dyes her hair that is allowing herself to go grey by keeping a grey stripe in her hair and letting that stripe get wider and wider. Seemed a graceful way to get back to natural.

Catherine said...

I decided long ago not to color my hair - and started turning grey when I was 18 - just a few here and there...now that I am 41 I've got tons....and I love how it looks.

I think I'll have to give that book a look too! THANKS...

Hallows Hex Design said...

Great post and very wonderful quotes! Thank you for a wonderful visit!

Patricia J. Mosca said...

if you can stop worrying about what others might think of your hair color, and of feeling obliged to wear camouflage, then you free yourself up to think about other things—that by abandoning the small stuff you may make room for the big." To me it's all about authenticity.
I LOVE THIS!!!
When you met me I was bald!! And now I have a combination of gray and white hair...and I was contemplating dying it....NOT ANYMORE!!!!! Thanks Lesley!

Terry said...

Lesley, My experience is exactly what yours has been. Went gray very young, never have dyed my hair. (And I also marveled that none of my friends ever got gray!)It is the one thing about me that I get daily compliments on. I wouldn't dream of dying it now. I would miss hearing "your hair is so beautiful!"

I need orange said...

I won't dye my hair, either.

Except maybe chartreuse, some Halloween.... :-)

I figure that there is no way I need to paint (any part of!) myself in order to be acceptable to others.................

Sandra said...

Mom was right; they usually are. I love my hair color because it's who I am, right here, right now. And that's great by me!

Pallas said...

I too started going gray early - 25, and was caught in the dye trap for years. I was very tired of the two week touch up ritual. With the help of my hairdresser I quit dying my hair last year. At 58, I am perhaps 85% gray and silver and will never go back. I am glad to see more women who are doing the same thing.

Stephanie t. said...

I read this post with tears in my eyes. My husband (55) was totally white gray in his 30's. He colored his hair until last summer...cut it all off then let it grow in naturally. It's stunning! At 54, I am still balking. I have young children, 7 and 10...and have to face well-manicured, young mothers daily. It's hard enough being the outcast among them just being older. I just don't have the cajones to face myself in the mirror. One day...just not today.

Fashion Networks said...

Great Post! Loved it... Loved the fact that you are willing to share your feelings on ageing and graying in such a nice manner. People need to accept who they are at a certain age, so when the time comes, it is good to acknoledge it and move on, which may actually take a lot of guts

Kudos to you! Good Write up

Regards

Kartik
Fashion Evangelist
www.fashion-networks.com
We Blog at http://fashionnetworking.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Great post! Here is a great new blog!

www.goinggray.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

This is a great post! Out of the 140+ post on my blog, this post about going gray gets the most attention:

http://mhlcoaching.typepad.com/the_health_and_life_mixin/2007/09/gray-hair-is-in.html

Anonymous said...

I mean...good for you ladies who can say that they LOVE their gray. But for someone like me who started going gray when I was in junior high and have been made fun of it for now the majority of my life...it isn't so LOVELY. But ya, maybe someday I'll learn to live with it...for now though I think its such a drab and boring color.