Thursday, September 5, 2013

A 12ish Step Program

Happy Anniversary… Me 

What date is bigger than a major birthday and/or a paid holiday?? Why it’s the anniversary you gave up hair dye of course! September 4, 2012 was the last time I ever dyed my hair and I remember how much I loved my rock star ginger. I certainly never thought it would be my last time to dye my hair. But now a year, *gasp*, a year! has passed and there are so many lessons that I’ve learned along the way. 

Granted, it is so much easier when you have the Silver Sisters forum and constant cheerleaders, but still one year is an absolute milestone. “Aren’t you done yet?” you might ask but no, dear ones, I have at least 6 more months to go. However it’s been a downhill challenge for some time and only getting easier as the weeks progress. Now I’m just focusing on getting some length back (my longed-for ponytail) and snipping off ends a bit at a time. 

I think everyone who goes through the process of growing out their grey has a similar experience and I’ve observed the following patterns. I think you get over the initial questions, “Why can’t I just dye my hair silver until it grows out?” and the realisation that “WHAT??!! It will take TWENTY-ONE months before I have this length and fully grown out hair??!!” At this point you see that it’s going to be a process. 

Even if you buzz cut it all off in the beginning, you’re still going to have the same mental transition time. If you go super short then you have to determine if you like short hair or go through the slow grow out process AND you simultaneously have to get used to yourself as silver. This shock has caused many a silver sister to run straight for the dye. Usually it’s either of two scenarios: they don’t like the hair length, or the shock of both of these changes at the same time was too much to handle. Many start over the process a few months later. 

If you go through the long grow out period, you have the shock of Border Collie hair but you get excited about every new inch of growth. But then you have a long period of annoying, two-tone hair. I’m not saying one is preferable to another because both will have about the same time period of adjustment. When you fully embrace and love your grey as well as find the right length and style for you- well, that’s when magic happens. That’s when you become one of those women who gets constantly stopped on the street and becomes a muse for someone considering going grey. 

Because I saw so many of the same patterns I put together a 12ish Step Program of the stages we go through in the process of going grey: 

1- We realise that we are grey and might venture to change our identity (i.e. former ginger or former brunette...) 
2- We get excited about redefining ourselves as a silver sister but the rest of the world (especially our loved ones) seem to fight us on this 
3- We learn boundaries and stand up for ourselves and everyone gets on board 
4- We start getting compliments on our silver from all sorts of people 
5- We get impatient as f-- and muse over whether or not to chop 
6- In our impatience, we incorporate layers to blend the skunk stripe 
7- We now hate the layers because they hide and mute our grey 
8- We find a happy balance and grow our hair out or chop, depending on what the right style is for us 
9- We graduate and LOVE our grey 
10- We adjust to the grey-haired person looking back at us in the mirror 
11- We update our makeup and wardrobe to accentuate the grey 
12- We become a muse and inspiration and allow our silver to show our radiant selves 

I have discovered so much about myself in the process so far and though I still hope to meet my original date of Dec 2013 for graduation, the dates aren’t all that important. I really felt what this experience has done for me last night: I went to the Iron Maiden/Megadeth concert and I haven't seen them since I was 19 years old. Back then I was fixated on what everyone's perception of me was- my frizzy hair, my makeup perfected, my outfit, my figure, my movements rockin' enough. Yeah, I know and I'm only touching on the level of crazy that went on in my head. But last night I could care less; I had the time of my life and was just perfectly in the moment. My hair was as frizzy as Bruce Dickinson's or any of the musicians never before experiencing 97% humidity. I had the time of my life, I owned and rocked that silver, and I had more fun than I ever had at a concert. That's what freeing yourself from the dye can do- that's what this growing process CAN do- just free you to stop fixating on self-criticism and just enjoy life and enjoy being you. God bless, ladies. Have a fantastic day!