My hair has had a rough week and so has my ego. After over a year of succumbing to hair color, I still am not satisfied, still trying and searching for that perfect color. At first it was fun to try a new color, but my latest experience has left me feeling vulnerable. Never would I have thought having my hair dyed would make me feel this way. So let me tell you a story.
There once was a small girl who saw “very old” women with purple/blue hair. After finding that these women attained their color from a rinse to hide the gray, she just could not figure out why they would prefer this strange, unnatural color to the soft beauty of gray. As she grew up, she noted other women with dyed hair, and thought that she would never do that to hide her gray. She would rather embrace aging as it came because it was beautiful.
This little girl’s thoughts and ideals are the reason I struggled so much as to whether I should color my hair as the gray set in. These thoughts were mine. I owned them and so could not understand why my graying hair was such a big deal to me. But the vain me, the one that looks at myself in the mirror, does not want to physically age. What a struggle with my own flesh!
I deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which really hits hard as winter approaches each year. In 2008, as my expected depression was tugging at my mind, all I wanted was a splash of color on a very washed out me. The wise little girl that stands up and fights my ego was quieted by SAD, so I took the plunge and had my hair colored. Really I loved it. It made me feel more vibrant, stronger, in my weakened state. And once I started, how could I stop? Stopping meant I would have to deal with a nasty growing out stage. But I have never been truly satisfied with the color, any color. So I decided whatever would be closest to my real color without the gray would be best. That’s what I asked for last December. What I got was a very dark brown, much more dark than my natural brown. So next time I asked for something a bit softer and was told I would need to make a longer appointment so the dark color could be stripped, so I went with another round of dark. That next longer appointment finally arrived this week. I had high hopes of finally fitting into a color that satisfied, one that was a bit softer to take the edge off my aging face, one that was closer to the hair of my youth.
This week, as I entered the salon for my longer appointment, I was greeted with a stressed, “We don’t have enough time for that.” Um, well, I’m not a hairdresser so I don’t know how much time you need, and I didn’t set up the appointment time, you did. That’s how my relaxing salon experience began. So we decided upon a medium brown and he stress-fully stripped the color from my hair. As I sat waiting for the chemicals to do their magic, his stress was transferred to me. I felt rushed and unsure, and I no longer trusted my guy. When it came time to rinse and start with color application, I was ready to leave. With my hair looking like I stuck it in a bleach vat, I said, “I’ll just go with this.” He talked me back down to earth and was set to mix the color for my hair. Because I had lost my trust, I asked to see the color samples one more time. We confirmed the color choice, a medium brown with some highlights. He insisted the brown would just be too flat without the highlights. Okay, do the dang highlights. So to my surprise, when he rinsed I got my first glance in the mirror, my hair was orange. ORANGE! Actually the color was quite lovely and I was so ready to leave, so he styled and away I went.
While I did like the color, I found it made my skin look so sallow. Without makeup my skin looked yellow. So I did something which was very difficult for me. I called back and explained that this hair color wasn’t going to work, and was relieved to be able to return for no extra charge for a fix. What color did I end up with? The same dark brown that I was trying to get rid of the in the first place.
Either he does not understand what I want, or he is not able to produce the color I want. So I had paid extra to have my hair stripped, and I’m sure the highlighting that he thought was a must cost extra as well, all for naught, all lost under the same dark brown. I give up. The little girl is screaming inside me, “Stop the madness. Gray is beautiful!” I’m hoping to have the strength to listen to her as she nurtures me through my growing out phase.
My biggest problem with aging is wanting the outside to reflect the age I feel on the inside. I FEEL more alive now than I ever have. Gray hair and sagging skin do not equate lack of vivaciousness. Quite the opposite. I am on the verge of the rest of my life. No matter my hair color, my life will be extraordinary.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
I’m ready for my crown (and a new hairdresser).