I was listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast and in one episode they were discussing all things recovery and rules and the parameters we set for ourselves, as well as those set for us by cultural norms and practices.
They discussed wanting to do, or not do a thing, such as dyeing one’s hair, buying a scarf, always wanting the latest thing (whatever that might be), and even just wanting in general – and how those things can tie into consumerism and the impossible standards espoused by the beauty industry. (Men going grey = silver fox, while when women do it, it’s ‘she’s let herself go’ and other such nonsense.) While not all of it resonated, when they got to the topic of going grey vs. continuing to dye hair as an example, I paused and listened intently.
I stopped dying my hair in late 2017 shortly after getting sober. Chopped off all of my hair super short – an outward symbol of inward changes. It’s now been a few years and I still have zero desire to ever head back to the colorist. No judgment to those that love getting highlights, doing dramatic amazing things with color – that’s just not what I am wanting for myself right now.
The salon I go to for trims caters to curlies. They cut hair dry, coil by coil, so each curl clump lays within the next, creating beautiful ringlets and overall amazing shape. And bonus- when cut dry there is little chance of underestimating curl shrinkage! Win!
Products for curlies have come a looong way. Playing with the phone camera post-appointment and seeing the definition made me smile.
I thought back to my middle and high school days. “Thank goodness for the internet,” I murmured to myself thinking of all the products and techniques tried over the last couple of decades, as well as the days when there were no products. My daughter now benefits from YouTube tutorials and tips on how to take care of her own mane of waves.
One particular ringlet stopped me. And I remembered that podcast discussion of going grey…
I wasn’t always ready for the grey. I used to yank out the single silver strands when one or maybe two would sprout. I liked the definition highlights gave. The grey is coming in more and more, and…I love it. Listening to that podcast solidified my decision to skip sitting in the stylist’s seat for hours. I love the rebellion it represents. The “I don’t care” attitude sliding down it’s rings. The flinging off of convention. The grey swims upstream, against the current of brown surrounding it. “See me?” it boldly asks. The grey is a gift, a symbol of living that not all receive. The experience of the grey demands respect, has earned its confidence, and smiles mischievously.
Ultimately – what one does (or doesn’t) do to their hair is their business. What my overall aim is – is to be mindful of the bigger picture in what my actions teach my kids, and is it authentic? Are they comfortable in their own skin? Do they accept themselves as is, or do they fight against nature? No amount of words speak so loud as my actions. We teach not by preaching, but by modeling. If I embrace who and what I am – that teaches them to celebrate who and what they are.
Sometimes a haircut…is more than just a haircut.