Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
The eagle eyed among you probably noticed something a little different going on with my hair lately.
Okay, you probably don’t need eagle eyes to notice it. I’ve stopped dying my hair, rendering visible what I had long considered my follicular shame: grey hair.
The first white hairs showed up right before my 16th birthday. I attributed them to my grade 11 physics teacher: a nasty woman who informed my mother under no uncertain terms that I was a terrible student, I had no comprehension of physics and that I would be failing her class. As a life-long honours student, I was a stressed out wreck. My mother told her off. I passed the class, but the white hairs appeared.
I also became a mechanical engineer. Eat your heart out teach.
I hated the idea of dying my hair when I was younger because I didn’t want to bother with the upkeep. I also liked the colour of my hair, and didn’t think I’d be able to recreate it out of a box. For 8 years I held off on touching it, until one exhausted, stressed out day I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t feel good about my life in general, and taking control of my appearance gave me the illusion of taking control of my life. So, I dyed it. From then on I continued dying it, because the growing out period for hair as long as mine was odious.
Other than the 4” roots I was sporting by the end of my pregnancy, I haven’t really seen my natural hair in full force in nearly a decade. Only the bits in the part and around the hairline. The grow out period for dye is much shorter with my current style, so when I went in for my last cut I took what felt like the radical step of not booking a dye job as well.
The proliferation of the white hairs over the years was shocking. In a strange sort of way, I kind of liked it. It was liberating. In an era where young people are stripping and dying their hair silver, it felt downright modern.
It probably helps that I work mostly with men. Men of varying degrees of pigment and… follicle density. I received several compliments on the haircut. Not a single comment or joke about the white.
I do wonder, if there wasn’t such pressure to preserve our youth through chemical means, how many other women would look the same as I do? Once vibrant hair fading somewhat as a smattering of albino hairs crop up in between. Would we still perceive white hair as the purview of the old? Or would it be considered normal?
Maybe I’m just rambling. Looking for proof I’m not alone in this.
Either way, I have another haircut booked this week and more of the dye is coming off. I don’t know if the rest of it will be gone or not, but I suspect the majority of it will.
The more I see it, the more I’m okay with that.