For years I was a relatively young looking woman. At 22 years old people thought I was 16 years old. And for a long time I hated it. Then I had gastric bypass and the weight began to come off. After Beka was born and I finally hit my lowest weight in a very long time, I was 140 pounds and suddenly I was faced with a much thinner looking face. Without the extra pounds to fill it out I felt like it aged me a lot. I'm pretty sure the sleep deprivation wasn't helping that look at all. But I wanted to be healthy, so I started coloring my hair more often. I cut off my hair and went much shorter than I had had my hair since 1999. But all of this didn't help me feel better.
Then February 2008 came. I was facing my 34th birthday when it hit me. I AM 34!!!!! I am one year away from being 35 years old. Where had the time gone? It seemed like only yesterday I was 15 years old and that 20 years that stretched before me were such a long time before I hit my mid 30's I had what seemed like forever before I had to worry about turning 35 years old. Then suddenly it was upon me. I will be honest, I freaked out a bit. I wasn't ready to be in my mid-30's. All those years to achieve what I had thought I would have achieved had flown by and at that moment I wondered what I had to show for it.
It was during this year of dealing with my mid-life crisis that I played around with hair color, I continued to paint my toenails strange colors (something I've been doing since my 20's), I exercised like crazy and tried to figure out how to embrace my age. It came to me one day when one of my children asked me why I hadn't gone into singing professionally. I had had that question a lot, but it was when my own child asked me that I really remembered the reasons behind it. And suddenly being in my mid-30's wasn't as bad as I thought. I didn't mind that what I had to show for the first 35 years of my life were a happy marriage and children who I loved and adored and who felt the same for me. Suddenly none of what other people had expected from me seemed to matter. I thought I was past that hurtle. I was wrong!
Enter August 2011, I discovered vermin crawling in Rebekah's hair one Sunday morning. LICE!!!! UGH!! By the end of the day I was so frustrated and beyond annoyed I made a choice - buzz cuts for the girls!!! Chris did a good job cutting off Elizabeth's and Rebekah's hair. They looked adorable and thank goodness they both have very pretty ears and pretty shaped heads, otherwise, Elizabeth wouldn't have been the only one to cry. Then later in the week we had Jalen the young woman who had infected our house back in the house. As I worked and worked on her hair I made a choice - off with the hair. And then, well then Sarah and Jalen found a few on me and that was it. Out came the clippers and suddenly all of my hair was gone. Granted I probably didn't have to shave Jalen, Lizzie and Beka's hair - it just would have been a lot of work, but who was going to keep up with my head having lice? NO ONE!! In part I shaved it off so Jalen wouldn't feel so badly, but also I had been toying with the idea of a new haircut anyway. But I wasn't prepared for what I found once all of the hair color was gone.
Underneath my colored hair was hiding a good deal of white hair. I discovered it on the sides, in the front mainly, but like my Aunt Nina, the back of my hair hadn't gone white that much. Once again I was faced with the idea of embracing my white hair or coloring over it as my hair grew out. But I couldn't color it for a long while. I had to wait for it to grow out.
It is April now, my hair is growing out nicely and with it the white hair. As my hair continues to grow I found I needed to decide. To Color or Not to Color?! This really was the question. So I decided. I never rebelled in high school or college. The closest to rebelling is I like to paint my toenails funky colors. Even if no one else can see my toes, I have to satisfaction that beneath the well put together facade that some people believe I have (believe me I am so not well put together, I love and sometimes live in my yoga pants, and sometimes I forget to put on socks with my shoes), I would have the satisfaction of knowing I was rebelling a little bit in my own way. But now I choose to rebel openly. I am rebelling against a society that says it isn't beautiful to have gray or white hair, a society and an industry that still fights to embrace the fact that women age even now. I choose to embrace my white hair - it doesn't mean I will always feel like this. In fact, I pretty much guarantee that there will be many days when I contemplate dying my hair again, but today and for a while I choose to rebel!
I will never be a drinker or a partier, but I can choose to be different in this way - I choose to grow old gracefully and embrace that I am aging and hopefully getting better with age.
Have a good week.
I know it doesn't seem like a lot in the picture but that's because it's finally growing out and hiding some of the white.Maureen