Wednesday, October 17, 2007

reflections on graying hair

I decided to get my hair cut on the spur of the moment the other day. I haven't cut it for so long I can't remember when exactly I cut it, to the amusement of the beautician. It is so thin that keeping it up and out of the way has become a chore. It didn't even braid well. When I took off my sunglasses the tip of the ear piece pulled strands of hair out of the braid or out from under my wigs.

I was surprised, shocked almost at how gray my hair had become. The harsh lights of the salon showed that what I thought were isolated streaks by the bathroom lights at home were much more generalized salt and pepper. I was shocked more that I hadn't noticed the extent of the gray than by fact of the gray.

It may seem strange in a culture that encourages, almost demands, that one cover up the fact of graying hair that I was not bothered the fact that mine was graying. When I started wearing wigs my natural hair was close to the dark auburn I preferred in the wigs I bought. But a short while ago I had already decided to change the color from the dark auburn I have worn for many years to a salt and pepper. I wanted a color that more resembled my natural hair and I knew the auburn no longer did. I was pleasantly surprised to see in the harsh light of the salon that the salt and pepper I had chosen very closely matched my natural hair.

I like to blog-hop and one of my favorite blogs to visit is Time Goes By. Recently the discussion revolved around an e-mail response to what most saw as light hearted answers to the question of what elder bloggers don't do anymore. Most listed those things they stopped doing because they no longer valued doing them, no longer found the activities necessary or interesting, or took up time they wanted to spend on other activities.

I started wearing wigs so I could give up the all too frequent visits to the beauty shop. Especially since there was little that could be done with hair that was baby fine, fragile, given to frizzing at the thought of a perm, and thinning rapidly. With my hair, every day had become a bad hair day. I no longer wanted to spend time setting or curling my hair when it would lose the curl or frizz as soon as I stepped outside the door. I no longer wanted to spend my money on hair care products that simply don't work.

The e-mail evidently thought that the question of what elder bloggers gave up implied that they were withdrawing and losing interest in themselves, their appearance and those around them. Most especially their appearance. I think the correspondent was off base. I didn't give up on my appearance. I gave up on a routine and a mindset which did not work, never worked, and would never work. I no longer have bad hair days and I have more time and money for things I want to spend them on. I don't have to go to the beauty shop as often or spend as much time when I do go. I don't have to spend time setting or styling my hair. And if you add up what I used to spend on hair care products, perms, conditioners, appliances the wigs are vastly more economical.

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