When I decided to go gray I was told by my hairdresser, “It will take about 18 months to complete the process, are you ready for that?”
Some things in life take time.
When you’re trying to decide to have a baby or not, you’re told it will take 9 months to gestate the little bundle of joy. As part of the birth planning process, you get to decide the time of year you’ll be in the fattest and most uncomfortable stages.
As a mom and a woman who chose to go gray, I can tell you gestating your head of gray hair takes time and the patience of a saint. And by knowing in advance how long it will take, you can plan for when you’ll be in the most challenging and uncomfortable parts of the process.
When you’re done with the going gray process, it is as joyful as giving birth.
If you can stand getting fat (pregnant fat) then you can stand going gray. And you’ll need to put on your big girl panties and ready yourself for a doubling up on the emotions you’ll feel before the big day happens.
Going gray process is an emotional rollercoaster.
Feelings of waiting, anticipation, worrying, joy, frustration, sadness, rebellion, WTFitis, shame, disappointment, determination, persistence, freedom, and a lot of ‘holy shit who is that looking back at me in the mirror?’ are going to happen!
You’re going to wonder what the hell does it really look like? Take pictures – oh, yeah, I did that a lot!
But if you’re up for a joy ride on a crazy rollercoaster, you’ll be able to endure the 18-month going gray process. And you’ll be ready to do it.
If you can’t empathize with those feelings or fathom yourself doing it, you’re not ready. You’ll cave at the first opportunity to hit the salon. Or when someone, including yourself, gives you the “Aw, you’re not really doing that?” look.
But if you’re up for it, and you’re determined to do so, and no one can change your mind, it is no different from deciding to have a baby. Once you’re pregnant, you can’t change your mind. Once you decide to go gray, you’ll do it!
If you’ve had a baby, you can go gray. It’s that simple.
But…18 months, hmm, that’s a LONG time, isn’t it? Holy sh*t, did it really take that long?
Well, yes, and no.
Yes, it did take that long to get back to the length of hair I had when I started the process.
No, because I personally couldn’t stand the demarcation line. I cut my hair at about the 9th month. Some people can endure it, and some people (aka, me) can’t. So I was fully transitioned in about 9 months. My baby gray hair was birthed and ready for me to grow into loving it even more than when I decided to do so.
I can’t deny it though, half of the time during the going gray process I was in horror of how I thought I looked. Despite the number of times, I mustered up enough gumption to head out the door with a glory of gray sprouting on top of my head, I always felt a bit (or more) insecure. Franky, as a woman, I still do.
I had (have) to tap into my Norwegian stubbornness (thanks, mom) and WTFitis to urge me out the door every time. In retrospect though, I didn’t realize how much I felt that way until today when I looked back at pictures from a year ago. Before I did the big chop.
I’ve yet to master the ‘selfie’, but pictures speak better than words when it comes to hair. So here goes…here’s me today. I still have bad hair days, I still wonder what style I want, I still don’t know if I want bangs or not, and I still haven’t mastered the curly girl technique.
Hair is just hair!
As awkward as it is to do so, I insist you document your process in photos. It helps you see how brave and true to your authentic gray-haired self you are (were) during the process.
Going gray has nothing to do with age. It is your hair being its own true self.
But what about the voices in my head? Do I still feel happy about the decision, do I ever have doubts?
Yes!…shitty thoughts happen. They’ll happen to you too. You’re gonna get the looks or hear comments (in real and in your own head) like:
“Well, I’m glad that worked out for you (her), but it’s not for me.”
“I could never do that, I would look old.”
“Oh, my, when are you going to take care of your hair?”
“I’m going on a job interview, I can’t look old, I won’t get hired. I have to look professional.”
“I’ll wait until I’m 50, 60, 70, 80, or when I’m a grandma, then I’ll look okay going gray.”
It is easy for me to say WTF to those comments now that I’m done with the process. It was easy for me to say WTF to those who took drugs during childbirth. I chose to go gray naturally, and I chose to give birth without drugs. But dagnabit, we’re lucky we have choices in our lives.
We all have the right to choose what is best for ourselves.
And that includes how we want to look and what color hair we want. I don’t judge people who color their hair pink, purple, green, brown, blonde, red or whatever color. I don’t judge people who don’t want to go gray. I hope they don’t judge me for deciding to go gray.
But if you want support to go gray, you’ve come to the right spot. I’ll cheer you on 100% of the way. Go Gray Go!!
Thanks for sticking it out to the end of my going gray tale (rant) for the day!