We went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch, as they were the host of the bowl game. The line was out the door and it wasn't for the football game but for some series of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) matches. It's a bloody sport; it's raw, and the fact that this is the new National past time is disturbing on more levels than I can relate. As my sister left to use the restroom a guy from a nearby table came over and sat down. His table had a "bet" going on that Wendi and I are sisters. Yes, he won that bet. They also had a bet of who was older. "She is, by four years," I replied. He lost that bet, and he also lost any chance of asking me out. Still he pursued and said that it was because of my grey hair that he thought I was older. I just silently looked him in the eye and allowed him to gnaw a bit further on his foot. After he'd realised that he hadn't made enough effort to backpedal he goes in for the kill, "So, I don't see a ring. How is it that you aren't married?" "It must be because I look so much older than my big sister," I replied sweetly. One would think that would end all conversation. One would be wrong.
A year ago a comment like that would have derailed me. A hundred comments about how much better I look with silver, how lovely and young my face looks, how my eyes become complex hues of turquoise, green, and periwinkle- all that would be out the window and I would focus on this one little slight from a man I'm not attracted to. I understand why so many women run for the bottle (the dye bottle, that is). Their family member makes a snarky comment, their friends are unsupportive, or some loser watching MMA makes an off-hand remark. All of the sudden, it's just so easy to lose all that confidence and resolve that you built up over the past several months.
This created an approach for me that I use in all areas of my life. There are three ways that you can approach any and everything that Life gives you: you can deny it, acquiesce to it, or celebrate it.
We'll use hair dye as an example of how to play this out. You can deny the gorgeous silver that God gave you and cover it up, playing with being a redhead, becoming another blonde in a crowd of fake blondes, or go back to the brunette of your youth. Sometimes it's fun to play with color and creating a new identity (or holding on to an old one) but at the end of the day, it's covering up. I always felt weird when someone complimented my red dye. "Well, I'm a natural ginger, but this is enhanced," I would say sheepishly. What was I taking credit for- zhoojing the dye evenly? Picking the right shade of red? Rocking out a fiery mane? In the end I admitted to myself that I was hiding from what grey hair meant to me, and I simply could not accept that God had prematurely greyed me.
Acquiescence- ah, this word covers all manner of sins in our lives. I hate this word- it is the word of carelessness and neglect, of not caring and giving up. Yet so many people do this when going grey and that's why there's a stigma that going grey means 'letting yourself go' to so many women. We all know that man or woman who rues their silver hair but says, "Well, at least it takes me no time to get ready now." What?? Why? Why does the color of your hair signify anything about how you care about yourself? I simply hate it when I compliment a lady on her grey and she says, "Now I don't have to spend any time at all on myself! I simply wash and go!" like it's some triumph to not care. What's worse is when someone responds to a compliment on their grey with "Well, I guess I'm not going to color it. I mean, it's just hair and it probably makes me look older but what are you gonna do?" Ugh, acquiescence is a dirty little word.
That's why the third option is always the best- CELEBRATE it!! When someone compliments you, smile and say 'thank you.' When someone says they don't know if they could be as brave as you are , encourage them and let them know they have options but also support whatever their decision is. When someone insults your grey (directly or inadvertently) stand up for your silver!! I recently had a facebook post of me and my friend, Penny. I captioned it with 'THIS is silver' referring to Penny's and my own ability to rock the silver. Lots of compliments and then one bitchy comment from my stepmother (still dying her hair whatever lacklustre box color goes on sale), "It's called GRAY." So I responded with "Some people choose to hide their gifts from God, others choose to celebrate them. Obviously, I choose to celebrate. If you have a problem with my grey, take it up with God."
I see this 3-option choice for every scenario in life- you can deny, acquiesce, or celebrate. At one time I would have loved to be 5'8", lithe and athletic, with a perfect slim nose, tanned skin, and straight sable hair. But those aren't the gifts God gave me. I'm petite at 5'2", curvy, with high cheek bones, chameleon eyes, and silver striped hair. I wear flats, I highlight my curves, I love and protect my alabaster skin, and I don a beautiful silver mane. Anyone, especially God, would be proud that I embrace what I have and celebrate.