My first gray hair appeared when I was only 15 years old.
I remember feeling a bit shocked as I was looking in the mirror combing my hair like normal when I spotted a tiny flicker of gray. Much to my dismay, it was in fact gray and not my imagination. I told my mom I was going to pull it out but decided against that when I heard that plucking one strand of hair could cause two to grow in it’s place. Thankfully, the gray did not grow very quickly, which was a relief. I did not want to become a gray haired teenager! By the time I was in my 20’s it started to grow at a faster pace so I began to get my hair highlighted at the age of 24. I really enjoyed how it looked and coloring it became a bit of an obsession. I dutifully spent way too much money every few months to make sure every strand of gray was colored. Plus, I just enjoyed changing my hair color. By the time I was 30, I decided to go blonde. That was a mistake, but hey– we were living in CA at the time, and I wanted to blend in! I came to my senses soon after and went brown again trying out almost every shade of brown imaginable. The trouble was, I really couldn’t afford it, so a couple of years ago, I decided to dye my own hair at home. Yes it saved money but the end result was a bit of a disaster.
After about a year of getting black hair dye on the counter and floor in my bathroom, I had had enough. “That’s it!” I decided, “I am going to take a break from dying my hair.” Besides that, I knew I was sensitive to the chemicals in the dye, even though I tried to go as “natural” possible.
Well, that “break” started in April of 2014 and turned into more than a year of not dying my hair– as a result it became a lifestyle choice. It’s now about 70% gray and guess what— I kinda like it! I almost feel like a rebel. I know that at age 37, having gray hair and not conforming to society’s expectations can come across as a bit radical. Maybe even a bit hippy-ish.
(most of the gray is underneath and on top)
However, I did notice that purposefully going gray has now become a bit of a trend. Just look at this Facebook page or this one and the beautiful women with gray hair! I did not even set out to be part of a new trend but I don’t mind. Honestly though– why does it even have to be a cool trend for us to accept the gray?
I have been thinking lately about trends and why we follow them– for good or for bad.
There are damaging trends we fall prey to such as juice fasts or that whole low fat phase from the 90’s (ugh). Then, there are positive trends that are empowering for women, such as the radical notion that we can be fat AND healthy, or that we can enjoy life without diets or actually wear a bikini at the beach….. in short… the body positive movement. (I truly feel that this is not just a trend but the start of a global change!) I absolutely LOVE being a part of this movement!!
But what we don’t talk a lot about is the trend of desperately trying to reverse aging– in some cases spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And why? Because we are conditioned by society to feel ugly if we have wrinkles or gray hair, or stretch marks or cellulite. Wrinkles? Try this cream. Cellulite? Here is a magic potion for you. Stomach sagging? Try this miracle cure. Gray hair? Just dye it.
Now I am NOT knocking people who use any of these products. I am most certainly not judging those who are not ready to stop dying their hair. I actually love and appreciate all different colors of hair, including purple and pink streaks, or even rainbow hair! :)
What I want to challenge our thinking on is this: WHY do we follow these trends? Is it because we want to fit in? To look cool? To look sexy? Do we fall prey because we do not feel worthy or that we can not measure up? Are we honestly afraid of aging?
As I say all the time, we are ALL beautiful. It does not matter how old we are. (or what size, race, gender, etc.) Instead of fearing the aging process and looking down on getting older, let’s embrace it!
Body shaming is not just about what size we are, or how we look in a swimsuit. Body shaming can include judging people for how old they look as well. It’s time to put an end to this, and that change starts with YOU.
You may already be gray, or maybe you aren’t ready to dye your hair— and that’s okay. What is another area where you feel critical of the aging process? Is there something you are interested in saying “Eff Society” too but are afraid to express?
Again– please don’t get me wrong– I am NOT saying that everyone should go gray, or stop using any kind of creams, or products that help you to feel good in your skin. What I AM asking us all to do is to stop and remind ourselves that aging is an inevitable part of life and we cannot truly keep it from happening. We are still JUST AS BEAUTIFUL with wrinkles and smile lines and cellulite….. and yes… even gray hair if we choose to go that route.
And the most important reminder is this: Our appearance is not our identity. Taryn Brumfitt of Body Image Movement says this, “Our body is not an ornament. It is the vehicle to our dreams.”
Instead of spending our days worrying about how old we look, what about spending it figuring out how to live with passion and make a difference? How can we use our beautiful bodies to inspire others? Every day truly is a gift– let’s make the most of our awesome selves with the time that we have left.
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I have two pieces of GREAT NEWS!!! First: I have updated the book cover on both my paperback AND the Kindle book…… and the Kindle version is now only $4.99! That is the cost of one latte. Will you join the revolution and learn all about how you can love yourself and live a passionate life?
Next: I am now officially part of BIMGAP!!! What the heck is that you ask? Well, I am now a Global Ambassador and it stands for Body Image Movement Global Ambassador Program! (see link I shared in my post). I know I have already used my passion to inspire people to learn to love their bodies, but I am even more excited to join forces with Taryn to promote the cause using an even greater platform. We are all in this together and we can all inspire change, whether it be with just one person or hundreds! P.S—If you resonate with this message, you will be happy to know that Taryn is still looking for more Ambassadors. Click here to fill out an application!