Ripples. You know, like when you chuck a small stone into a pool of water, and the concentric circles spread and spread, away from the original spot where the stone landed? The effects of going grey have been like that for me. Lots of ripples. It’s not just about hair anymore, my friends.
I know I’ve been writing about this a lot. And maybe you’re sick of reading about going grey, tired of my navel gazing when it comes to my hair. But this whole hair thing has turned into so much more than I ever thought it would. I touched on this in a post I wrote about trying to change my make-up to go with my changing hair. I said that I wasn’t really looking for advice on how I might change up my make-up, or even whether I should let my hair go white or not. That I was mostly just recording the process, and at the same time processing it, so to speak.
As I said in that post: “My hair journey became a journey of self-acceptance for me. I’m sixty-four. And whether I have white hair or not white hair, and more colour in my face or not, I’ll still be sixty-four. And I’m good with that.”
This journey, of course, started long before the lockdown forced me to live for months with my widening swath of white roots. I first wrote a post about whether to go grey or not back in 2016. Back then I fussed, and fretted, and debated, and sought inspiration just like I did this year. Except back then I decided I wasn’t ready. But this year, it seems, I am.
I had a lovely long chat with my old friend Debbie on the phone yesterday. Took me right back to grade eight when we used to talk on the phone for hours. We can still talk the leg off an iron pot, that’s for sure. Hubby came in after an hour and asked if we were STILL talking. We were.
We talked about hair a lot. Debbie’s been transitioning to grey as well. And for her it’s been a longer process than for me. One she began a couple of years ago when the grey roots of her dark brown hair became so annoying that she went blonde all over. Until this winter when a savvy new stylist suggested she let her roots grow out, get a much shorter cut, ditch the warm blond, and start getting cool, platinum highlights instead. So much better, Deb told me. Because with her dark hair and pale skin, she’d always looked better in cool colours. She couldn’t believe the difference, and she loves it. Now her hair seems to go with her face, with her natural cool colouring, and she can wear the colours she always used to love.
Once Debbie and I had updated each other on our going grey progress we lapsed into more philosophical musing. How the effects of going grey have been like ripples in a pond for each of us. How going grey has affected how we wear make-up, of course. What we wear. And for me, what I want to wear. But also how we feel about being sixty-four. And having grey hair. Or in my case white.
Back in May, once my silver roots started showing, I liked them much better against my face than my faded blonde and brown colour. So I started sweeping my hair back off my face, to show the roots. How’s that for irony? All the time and money I’ve spent over the years hiding my roots and now I wanted to show them off. Ha. I wore my hair back off my face for years and years when I was much younger. My hair naturally goes that way. Then straightening irons and product allowed me to wear my hair brushed forward. Now, I’m kind of done with all that.
And as I told Debbie yesterday on the phone, now that a lot of my old colour has been cut off, and I am mostly white, I’ve been feeling a weird sort of shift. As if the ripples from the stone I chucked in that pond are lapping against my feet. I feel strangely different. Less worried about my hair and my outfit being perfect. Less worried about my appearance being… well… perfect.
I asked her, “Remember how I always had to have every hair in place? A tidy crease in my jeans? Everything kind of perfect?” There was no response. “Do you remember that, Deb? Debbie?” Then I heard her sputter, and gasp. She was laughing. I guess she knows me too well to even have to ask that question. I don’t mean to say that I ever did look perfect. Just that I was always kind of obsessed with neatness, and tidiness, and every hair in place.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve not given up trying to look good, or abandoned make-up and planning outfits. Not at all. Just that I seem to be leaning towards a more relaxed vibe. I feel drawn to a more louche, more easy, and edgy kind of chic. I know that this shift started when I retired, and I stopped wearing business wear. But this latest hair transition seems to have moved that process along a wee bit more. I’ve worn outfits these last couple of weeks that, in the past, I’ve tried on, cringed at my reflection, and taken off again. Why did they seem kind of cool to me now? I can’t explain it except to say that they suddenly looked “like me.” And that somehow I just feel more me. And more happy to be me, if that makes any sense.
I follow Linda Wright on Instagram, and I know lots of you probably do too. I love her chic, easy style. How she seems so comfortable in her clothes. So comfortable in her own skin. I adore the little videos she posts of her OOTD. Of her walking along some street in Paris, gently swinging her arms, or in some videos swinging her bag. Smiling at whoever is taking the video.
Have a look.
Now here’s my point. Linda’s walk epitomizes, for me, how I’ve been feeling since my haircut a couple of weeks ago. Easy, happy, comfortable in my own skin. Now, if only I could learn to walk like that. Ha.
So, I guess we’ll see how this whole hair thing plays out. When the ripples finally peter out. And what the eventual effect of going grey, or white, will be. On my psyche. And on my style. To be honest, I’m wondering if the visible effects, besides the hair itself that is, are so subtle that others won’t even notice. And maybe my style is not changing the way I feel it is. Maybe I’m imagining it.
And besides the obvious change to my hair, maybe all the other stuff is on the inside.
What about you my friends? Any outward changes lately that have altered your inner landscape?
P.S. You can follow Linda on Instagram here.