For years I lived in fear of grow out.
Gray was always lurking like a mugger just waiting to grab me and steal my youth. I tried all shades of pretend.
I pretended to be a blonde.
I pretended to be a brunette.
I even tried to pretend I was a redhead for a season; couldn’t pull that one off.
I went from one bottle to the other like a picky alcoholic dreaming of the perfect party drink.
So if you would have told me 15 years ago that I would give up the bottle and like it, I wouldn’t have believed you. Without the bottle I didn’t think I could be social, carefree, or hip. I needed the bottle to protect my rep and to hide my age, to cover me in color so that when others looked my way I was presentable. It was my saving grace, and I loved my magnificent mane stain.
But, they say that the first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes:
Hi, I’m Hayley and I’m addicted to hair color. It’s been two months since my last dye job.
I tell you what, I fought this day for years, decades. Deep down I wanted to be free from the harsh chemicals and bi-monthly salon visits. I wanted to quit putting so much effort into keeping up the status quo and just let my follicles go, but then everyone would think I was different, they would look at me like I was out-of-touch, no longer hip enough. They would think I was – – OLD (a fact I’d been rather successfully hiding for years) and now the truth would be told.
See, I don’t feel old, I feel really young, and so having hair that represents old age seems weird to me. But since I’ve been running around town with the gray, I’ve come to realize a few things about getting older. At first it bugged me that people didn’t look at me the same way with gray hair as they did when I was blonde. “No one ever whistles at the white-haired woman,” I bemoaned, as if I lived for cat calls and other street harassments.
And when the little girl at the library thought that I was my daughter’s grandmother I wanted to cry. But in the grand scheme of things these minor changes to my “social” life aren’t really worth mentioning are they? What is worth mentioning is what God has to say about gray hair. It’s funny that he felt the need to include a little love for us white hairs in his Word. No other hair color gets this kinda props, sorry all you non-old people, but “gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31) Which is funny, because I got mine by the way of unrighteousness, worry to be exact, but I can say that I didn’t reveal it to you all until I had learned a few hard lessons and gained a bit of wisdom.
And to all my sisters that are self-identified blondes, etc. like I was, hear me loud and clear: you keep dyeing your hair until you don’t. Enjoy your hair and your freedom to do whatever you want with it. Some people can drink and it never gets ahold of them while others use it as a coping mechanism. My dyeing was never about freedom, it was about worry and fear. I couldn’t stop until I was ready to stop.
So here I stand today, fully committed to the sign of my age, which has been scratching and clawing to get out since I was in my 20s. Rather than fearing that who I am isn’t young enough for the world, I’ve embraced who I was made to be, and trusted that this embracing won’t leave me unprotected.
Now, I don’t know why I feared it for so long. Rather than being a dangerous thing to reveal about myself, it has been a freeing thing. It’s been like riding bareback after being saddle weary. It’s like walking barefoot on the beach instead of wearing shoes one size too small on the hot cement; Like living with all the doors open and the warm breeze blowing. It’s been accepting who I am without making excuses for who I am.
In Isaiah 46:4-5 God says, that “Even when you’re old, I’ll take care of you. Even when your hair turns gray, I’ll support you. I made you and will continue to care for you.” Say what? I wish I would have believed that years ago. I wasn’t always sure of that, but now I am certain. He’s got me covered better than Clairol ever could.