Just before I turned 40 last year I decided that I wanted a “new look”. I had been growing my hair for some time so that it would be long enough to donate without having to resort to a short haircut. The stylist that I had recently discovered, and whom I LOVED, didn’t really want to take the time to even get me scheduled. After 3 attempts, I moved on. That was a fateful decision.
I booked an appointment at a salon I had been to before, but with a new-to-me stylist. *Heavy sigh*. Another fateful decision.
I showed her pictures of exactly what I wanted, told her that I usually wear my hair naturally curly but wanted to leave with it blown out and that I wanted to donate what was cut. We also discussed color. Now I’ve never been one to dye my hair, with the exception of semi-permanent color. And with that said, it has been many many years since I’ve done that. I always said that even when I go gray, I was just going to let it happen. There isn’t anything unattractive about aging. I really believe that.
In an effort to spare you any traumatic flashbacks of your own hatchet haircut experience, I will say that she made the braid and cut… and then proceeded to cut another 4 inches off, leaving it all over the floor. It was 4 inches shorter than I asked for and 4 inches of wasted hair that could have been donated. And if that wasn’t enough, the dark auburn “Julia Roberts” semi-permanent color I asked for turned out to be permanent “Barney” purple. Needless to say, my cute new look wasn’t, and I cried the moment I stepped out the door.
Over the past 9 months, I have been back several times to have the color corrected, reapplied and touched up (by a qualified stylist)…. only to discover something new: a lot of gray around the hairline.
I don’t know if it was the stressful situation that caused my hair to go gray so fast or if it was just my genetic timetable. But either way, it challenged me and how I view myself. I never thought that I would ever consider covering my gray, but here I am, contemplating it. And to keep things totally honest and real, I realized that part of me thought I was somehow more “evolved” and “comfortable in my own skin” because I didn’t plan to cover my gray. Silly, right? Who thinks like that? But if I am being honest with myself and with you, I guess I kind of did.
It is going to take the better part of a year yet to even get back to having the option of going with my natural color. So I have time to sort it all out in this little head of mine. In the meantime, it’s past time to go back for another temporary touch up to try to blend the color as it grows out.
Big thank you to Alyssa Joy Photography for taking beautiful film portraits of me as I try to gracefully navigate this next stage of aging. To see more of her film portrait and wedding work, visit her website at www.alyssajoyphoto.com.