It was just another Tuesday morning. It was early and I had just stepped out of the shower, gotten dressed for work, and pulled out my blow dryer to start styling my hair. As I brushed my natural ash blond locks, I noticed something shimmer in the mirror that caught my eye. I leaned into the mirror and moved the brush through my hair again to expose the beginning of a silvery streak (not one hair, but a whole streak) shining through under the top layer of my hair. I had just celebrated my 34th birthday, yet that discovery Tuesday morning caught me a bit off guard.
I have never feared aging. Growing up, I remember my mother embracing every wrinkle and gray hair as “earned trophies.” She never tried to cover her grays with hair dye or doing anything crazy to reduce the appearance of the lines around her mouth and eyes. In fact, I remember my mom embracing them and wearing her badges of longevity with pride. So, with her as my aging role model, I never felt that a few grays were anything to fear.
Yet, my streak of grays left me staring into the mirror….unexplainably a bit dumbfounded. How had these suckers snuck up on me? I mean, your hair doesn’t change colors overnight! My husband noticed me staring a bit too closely into the mirror and came in to see what had me so captivated.
“Look!” I said pointing, a bit wide-eye. He silently examined the streak, smiled, kissed my head and said “I think it’s pretty” as he walked away to finish getting ready for his day.
I’m glad my husband didn’t feel put off by my changing hair, but I needed to be okay with this. I contemplated calling my hair dresser and scheduling an appointment to color them away under some pretty shade of brown or dark blond…but then stopped and remembered my mother’s appreciation for her “trophies.” and thought about all the things I had overcome (okay, some just survived) that probably contributed to those grays popping up.
I remembered fighting hard to make my life over to lose 70 pounds and a lifetime of unhealthy habits. I recalled caring for my brother-in-law as he battled terminal cancer…and holding his hand as he slipped away. I remembered supporting my husband through his grief while also trying to make peace with my own. I remembered moving across the country, 3000 miles from the comfort and safety of our families, for my husband’s military career. I remembered the 50 hours of labor I was in with my beautiful and amazing daughter. I remember seeing my husband off on deployment while our daughter was still a newborn and I continued on as a full time working mother. I remembered all those tough moments I had risen above and had molded me into the woman I had become.
I looked back into the mirror, my hand still holding back the top layer of my hair. These grays were not a road sign for me withering up into a useless, unattractive old lady with no life before her. These grays were the signs of spirit, my strength, my determination….my longevity.
I cracked a little smile at myself in the mirror and let my hair fall back into its normal resting place. While my grays were hiding from the world, I could see the hint of their silvery sparkle peaking through the ash blond strands surrounding them. Whether people could see them or not, whether I decided to color them away at one point or not…I knew they were there. Reminding me of how much life I had conquered….and how ready I was for whatever the rest of life had to throw at me.
Looking for other tidbits about my personal journey? Check out 5 Thing Losing 70 Pounds Taught Me