We women spend a lot of time on our hair, don’t we? I do. I found my first gray hair when I was 18, a senior in high school. A classmate loudly said, “Sarah, I see a gray hair!” It began. A box of Feria and two hours in the bathroom. I’ve been doing it ever since, though after moving to Chicago I graduated from a box to a salon chair. For a while it wasn’t too bad, until after Maggie was born. Ever since my first pregnancy, my hair has gotten more and more silver, faster and faster. The skunk stripe has gotten increasingly “skunky” and my stress over keeping the grays covered has increased.
Skunk Stripe – and awesome family
Then, I think about a month ago, I woke up one morning and made a decision.
“I think I’m done coloring my hair” I said to myself. Myself said, “Yes, that sounds like a wonderful idea.”
Immediately, I was afraid. After all, I am 30 years old and if my roots are any indication, the front half of my head is close to 75% silver. Yikes. Am I going to age myself 15 years? Is my husband going to look like he’s married to an old lady? Will he be embarrassed to be seen with me?
So I did what any sane woman living in America in 2014 thinking of changing her hair does. I went to Pinterest. I searched “gray hair under 40” and found some reassurance.
Definitely not an old lady. Am I right?
So, here we are. As part of growing out my natural color, I decided to cut my hair short, so there would be less dyed hair, thus less two-toned for a shorter amount of time.
As of noon today – can’t really see the gray from this angle (trust me, its there!)
This is the shortest I have ever had my hair cut in my adult life. I think I love it. Its very freeing.
What on Earth does this have to do with poems? I’m getting there, I promise. I swear.
There’s a poem I love written by Fleur Adcock, where she talks about growing older gracefully, and frankly, not giving a shit because she’s too busy living and loving her life. Yes, I know I am only 30. Yes, I know that is not old. But I also know that it is very uncommon for a woman my age to have as much gray hair as I am going to soon be sporting, and this has naturally made me think of getting older. Of how to do so with grace and class. Of how to not care so very much what other people think. Of Weathering.
My face catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle.
Well: that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty,
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,
happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will turn grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well
that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.
Ah, the freedom to be who we really are, and even, miraculously, find some beauty there. Joy.