At the ripe age of 14, I found my first grey hair. Sure, I had a moment of panic, of absolute terror, but what can I really do about it? I was too young to be complaining about this being a sign of “aging”, so I just went with it. I think it was my best friend Rebecca, at summer camp, who ripped it out before I got a chance to see it thriving in its natural habitat. For a specific reason, I’ve never been one who plucks their grey hairs out. But honestly, it’s truly mesmerizing to see how many friends will do you that “favor” when you’re not exactly asking them to. The thing is, over time, I’ve grown to absolutely love them.
Like I said, I don’t pluck them for a specific reason. The day I tried to, I was sitting in my grandmothers Cadillac Brougham and chatting with her about who knows what. I flipped the mirror down in the passengers seat and spotted a “grey”, and it took that woman .5 seconds to snatch my tiny wrist into a chokehold before my impending grey-hair-mutilation and she scolded me on the importance of keeping all of them in mint-condition. I played it cool, agreed, and silently made an appointment with the hairdresser to dye my hair. I understood her sentiment, but I didn’t dare to be different. The hair would still technically be there, but just touched up a bit.
Well. I did it. And now I’m here to tell you why I didn’t repeat it, and why I’ll never do it again.
The moment I was wrapped in aluminum foil like some delicious Thanksgiving leftovers at the hair salon, I started to feel this deep sadness and regret for what I was doing. I felt like I was washing my families genes out of my hair, like I was messing with nature. I never hated the greys, and they definitely gave me a little character. They were most definitely a go-to conversation starter. But they were different, and so I felt like they needed to go. Greys are the universal sign of aging, but I’m not sure why that’s necessarily a bad thing. We have so many cute quotes about how wrinkles are proof that we “lived/laughed/loved”, but nothing to cover the asses of those who grey too soon, or even right on time. In a world where grey’s are initially avoided like the plague, they’ve evolved into something unique. I’m way more used to seeing elderly people with unnaturally dark hair than I am people gracefully and confidently reppin’ their greys. In my most honest opinion, greys are so bizarre. They’re kinky and wirey, they stick out like a sore thumb, they’re impossible to tame, and they’re mesmerizing to strangers. They sparkle. When you’re young and sparkly, they’re special and unusual and people always want to touch them. I love that. When you’re older, they’re regal and graceful (to me). Like laugh lines and crows feet, they’re a sign that you’re alive and thriving. That you’ve been places and seen things, even if you’re wrinkling and greying at 14. I realized all of that when I was sitting at the hair salon. I had made a huge mistake, and I missed my sparkles. Honestly, they get better with age. My mother has the most beautiful snowy-white hair that I pray to the high heavens I acquire when the time is right. I dyed my hair for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t ever feel very strong negative feelings about my greys, so the whole thing seemed pretty moot and expensive.
As a 26 year old, I realize that it may be annoying that I’m preaching that “grey is grey-t“. It could be annoying or objectionable because I don’t feel old. So, what do I know about the internal conflict of growing older, the time when your appearance is catching up to your age. I don’t. My greys are not a sign of growing old for me, they’re just a sign of some strong genes. It’s important you know that I know the difference.
Most people don’t find themselves in my position at 14 years old. They dye their greys because they want to stop the train. They want to Benjamin-Button back to their youthful deep locks. For those people, the instinct for some is to dye. I get that reflex, I do. But for me, I think I’ll embrace them, and the ever-changing hues atop my head. I love my brown hair, and I’ll be sad when it eventually goes, but I refuse to fight that battle. Beauty is 100% objective, but the kind of beauty I admire is nourished by internal confidence that exudes out to those around you. Theres a difference, to me, between dying your hair a different color to “go outside the box” or “try something new” versus covering up grey hair because you hate it or don’t understand it. I feel like its covering up something about who you are. But who am I to judge, honestly. If you’re born a brunette but feel you’re best as a blonde, go for it. If dying your roots is what it takes for you to ‘feel yourself’, go for it. I’m just giving you an out here. And I don’t blame you if you want to jump on my bandwagon.
To further my point, let me introduce you to one of the most beautiful humans that I’ve seen (besides my mother, naturally):