Friday, March 15, 2013

Family... Sigh

One thing that will be an inevitable part of anyone's journey in the greying process is to deal with family. Sigh... The sigh goes with it and will always go with it. Unfortunately you will have at least one close family member that just zings you and criticizes your choice to go grey. They will think they are doing you a favor (at best), but will most likely be so used to taking your relationship for granted that they will have no idea about boundaries.

My biggest boulder is my dad. I call him my boulder because with these crazy negative voices we have going on in our heads, there are usually some origins. One of those origins is my father. He is not known as a cuddly or congratulatory man. In fact, he has never said a word of praise about me to my face. Rumor has it others have heard positive comments said about me from my dad, but the stoic Midwestern way of fathers is to keep said information from the true recipient. Unfortunately praise is among  a stack of necessary skills that my dad is missing.

So it is with little surprise that when my father saw me for the first time since I stopped coloring a comment was made about grey hair looking "old." I have no doubt I brought up my hair in some context (because I freakin' LOVE my hair). However, there was nothing constructive about his comments. I told him I look younger with it and that I get compliments all the time. He said anyone that would compliment me on my hair was crazy. There was a slight back peddling on his part to say that ANYONE complimenting another on their HAIR was just plain weird. It ended in me telling him that I could care less of his opinions on my hair so his comments were moot.

I felt pretty low after leaving there, and every silver sister has had a similar experience. As one sister said so well, "the world isn't ready for us" (thanks Elo!). But there is a great light at the end of this dark tunnel. When you are feeling the aftershock of being blasted, it's a great opportunity to re-evaluate what control another person has over your feelings. Is it a stranger that made that comment? Did you respond? More importantly, did you tell said stranger that they were out of line? And what about your family or friend. Did that person make you feel like you were 8 years old? How did you respond?

I will say this: what started out feeling like a really low point and a step backward became a real opportunity for growth. I took that opportunity to once and for all evaluate why one man's limited viewpoint would affect me. Once I gave that a hard look, the feeling dissipated.

I guess the main thing to remember with all of these posts is that the experiences I have in this process are the same experiences that every silver sister has. There are highs and lows to the whole process. Some may see this as a low point but it was a great triumph for me; it finally made me deal with a much deeper issue and I came out stronger than ever. The world may not be ready for us but they will have to adjust.

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