I recently mentioned that I have been on a journey to be more authentic version of myself. That journey has involved a lot of soul-searching about what I value and what I want in life. It has involved a lot of listening to try and understand God’s plan for me.
One of the changes I’ve made is to stop coloring my hair. I started going gray at 16. With the exception a year while I was in college, I’ve colored my hair consistently since. That’s 23 years of coloring my hair. I wasn’t even sure what my hair looked like under the color. The last time I had seen it was 2003, and I had a gray streak down one side.
I started considering the change the last time I was sitting at the salon getting my hair colored. The expense wasn’t an issue, because a wonderful friend at church had been trading hair coloring for helping her daughters with math. I was getting the better end of the deal; I love her two daughters, so spending time with them was a pleasure! As I left the salon nearly two hours after I came, I wondered why I was spending so much time on something that just didn’t matter to me. It was a beautiful day, and I could have been riding my horses.
What I found most interesting was people’s responses when I vocalized what I was thinking. My husband was his usual loving, supportive self, telling me that I wasn’t beautiful because of the color of my hair. Other men I knew said that gray hair was sexy, pointing to beautiful women like Jamie Lee Curtis. The women I know, on the other hand, were significantly less supportive, arguing that there was no need for any of us to look old. After hearing many different opinions, I decided I had to be true to myself and give it a shot. If in the end, I didn’t like it, I could always go back.
Two months ago, I cut off several inches of my hair to try and cut out some of the color. I prefer long hair in the summer. I’m outside a lot and like to be able to throw my hair in a pony tail, so I’m letting it grow back out. I’ll cut the last of it off when I have enough I can lose the 3-4 inches but still have a pony tail.
It’s been interesting to see people’s faces when they see my gray hair. Some have said I look 10 years younger; others have questioned my sanity. Personally, I like it. My father was gray at 28. My brother is as gray as I am and still very handsome. It’s a family trait that I’m proud to carry. Best of all, my husband loves it and thinks it’s beautiful. In the end, I still want the man I love to think I’m beautiful. 😉
To some, it may have been a small thing, but to me it was an important step in making decisions based on who I am and who I want to be rather than other people’s expectations of me. Are you being held back by the expectations of others? If so, what’s stopping you from breaking free?