Going Gray Gracefully
Meet Kourtenay. In fact, i just met her myself. Isn’t she adorable?
This is the picture I found when searching for cuts for my upcoming transition to gray. Yes, I messaged her and spoke with her. I have her permission to post her pictures here. By the way, she has a blog and YouTube channel. You can find her at GirlsWithCoupons.com
Being Authentic. That’s what we’re told we should be. Be yourself. Love who you are. I love that the internet is bringing this forefront. Growing up, being different meant weird. My mom always said ‘I beat to my own drum’ as a means to explain I was different. Sure, I could fit in, be what everybody expected of me, but being a creative sort – sometimes I wanted to color outside of the lines. I could be non-stop chatty, messy, and boisterous.
As a girl, I felt authentic when I wore mascara, because that’s who I was. A girl that wanted to wear mascara and eyeliner, foundation and the like. Appearance was praised in my household. Sometimes, it feels, more than intelligence. It was finely ground into me that I should look good.
My fashion sense was non-existent. I lived in sweats. My sister has a natural ability to pull anything together and look great. That wasn’t my gift. I wanted to be comfortable, much to my mother’s chagrin.
Time has passed and I still live for comfort and a super, creamy soft “Life is Good” sweatshirt. I own seven of them. Yes. Seven of the same ones. They are like a security blanket of comfort. When my husband comes home, he’s greeted by a tangled woman in a pair of pajamas, usually a rayon-soft short set, and a sweatshirt. It’s my wardrobe of choice. For the rare times I leave the house, I leave the PJ’s behind begrudgingly.
I stopped wearing make-up about six months ago. When I look back, there were times I wouldn’t even go to a convenience store for milk without eyeliner. Dear goodness, what if somebody had to see me undone? My face and hair were my sense of control. If they were done… well, I could accomplish anything.
So, why would a woman that’s “only” 48, about to turn 49 decide to go gray? Oh, let’s get the topic of gray/grey off the table. I decided I was going to choose one spelling. Otherwise, I’d alternate every other paragraph to make you aware, that yes, I know it can be spelled both ways. That’s one of the few words that stops me in my writing still today! Deciding how to spell a silly color’s name… go figure. It seems my priorities are scattered, just like my mind.
My hair over the last ten years or so:
I turn 49 in a few weeks and am starting the process to go gray. If I started now, by 50, it should be mostly grown in. There are a few ways to do it, and I’ve chosen to cut my hair shorter to make the process faster. They say it takes about 12-18 months without cutting it (if your hair is longer) and closer to 4-8 months if it’s shorter.
I scoured the internet to see how everyone else was doing it. I once joked about my gray to my stylist, but her response was – you’re not gray, you’re white. So, as my snow white grows in, and I attempt to become a Silver Sister with some sort of dignity, I thought I’d share the process with you. I should warn you; dignity is not my strong point. I’m more of a modern Erma Bombeck or Lucille Ball. My husband swears I have an uncanny ability to break anything without trying. (Just ignore him when he mentions the vacuum, VCR (remember those!), lawnmower and other things…it’s all in the past, sheesh.)
As I geared up to start my journey, I went into full research mode. I dove into Pinterest, websites, Facebook groups and the sort. I bathed in nothing but gray stories, product information, transformations and the like. One woman’s style stood out to me. I loved the picture I stumbled upon, then followed the trail to her blog and YouTube channel. I knew I’d found the cut I wanted. You’ve got to go check out Kourtenay on GirlsWithCoupons.com, then hop to her YouTube channel. You can find her series on Going Gray here. (pic snagged from a video, yes, got her permission first!)
I messaged her last night to as if I could share her photos with you, and she was gracious to say yes. (Thanks, Kourtenay). She was surprised she’d inspired someone that way. Yep, I’m taking HER picture to the stylist on Tuesday to get my hair cut.
The pictures don’t show it well indoors. Outside, you can really see the difference. I guess I’ll need to do an outside snap at some point.
The funny thing is, I let a lot of gray strands grow in about two years ago, then colored it all for some travel. I look back and realized it put me back to square one.
In the doctor’s office this past week, I commented to an adorable woman that I loved her hair. She was eighty! She looked incredible. She raved about her choice and did it after her retirement. A woman sitting across from us commented.
“Oh, not me. I’m not going to age myself on purpose.”
Last I looked I was turning 49. If I let my gray come in… guess what, I’m still turning 49. We have so much emotional baggage attached to our hair and femininity. My hair has been an unhealthy obsession for ages. The moment I decided to cut and go gray, it’s as if a weight dropped off of my shoulders. I was just going to be me. Me was good enough. Maybe that’s something that comes with age, a sense of confidence.
I’m mostly invisible these days, as an aging fat chick. People glance right past me; their gaze rarely stops. In my younger days, I held attention a little longer. It mattered to me. I wish it didn’t, but it did. I wanted to be pretty. I didn’t understand at the time that pretty came from inside. It was feeling great in your skin, being your authentic self, and enjoying who you are. I think I like myself more today in my larger, bloated body than I did in my younger, cuter self. I get me. I understand who I am. I’m finally letting the shackles go of worrying what somebody else might think of me.
You know what? I’m ready to see what nature intended. I’m ready to see me! In fact, I’m excited and fired up to make the change. I’ve never been more certain. As for my husband… he’s all for whatever makes me happy. Seriously, he’s one of those amazing guys. I’m independent and strong, and he’s not threatened by it, and yet he’s my security blanket and rock when I need him. We’re two peas in a pod and best friends. I love that guy.
My youngest son, 22, has taught me more about being authentic than anybody I know. I’ve watched him grow and thrive, and go through some bumpy years, but through it all, he was himself. I’m so proud of that young man. He’s taught me to laugh at my flaws, to be okay with being lumpy or having groan inducing Mom humor, and to realize that I’m happiest when I’m me for me, and not some other version of me for somebody else.
My 25-year-old has been going through the transformation. We’re finding it close to the same time, him at 25, me at almost 50. His medications have altered his body, and he’s found more peace in not worrying what others think of him. Why do we care so much?
Either way. Here I am. I turn 49 in June, and I’m about to start the process of going gray.
As a writer, especially writing romantic-comedy, authentic once again comes into play. I’ve been going through a lot of medical issues over last few years. I’m now a possible candidate for tailbone removal, after years of working with orthopedists and a pain management specialist. And recently, my rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. It’s a frustrating and weird thing. Regardless, when I’m having high pain days, it can be hard to write comedy. That’s how I ended up with some of my other pen names. I poked at a mystery, thinking I’d only write one. A few years later, and we see how that went. (See MollyDox.com)
My latest deep injections haven’t been working. Hard to write funny when you hurt. My new bad boy romance collection comes from avoiding soft romantic-comedy again. (See ZodyGrayson.com)
So, here we are, me having babbled on for way too long, and losing my point. That’s how my brain works. It scatters and repeats. Hey, at least it works!
I’ll be updating my transition to gray on Facebook, but wanted a fuller bit of the journey here, in case you found it of interest. Thanks for reading, and thanks for stopping by!
TWO MONTH UPDATE:
3 1/2 MONTH UPDATE: