I turned 38 last week. I believe I handled it well. To celebrate, I went for a walk by the Bay and marveled at the beauty of the mountains, the sea gulls in the sky, how the sky was so blue.
I sat for a while and pushed a strand of my hair back. It was white. I smiled then looked at the choppy water, thinking about my hair, life, getting older.
I started going gray at 21. Not totally gray, just wisps of white. I was semi prepared for this; my mother started going grayat nineteen. However I was hoping for the dad gene when it came to hair; he didn't go gray until he wa 65. I did what any girl would do: I started coloring my hair.
I've been a redhead, butterscotch, and deep brown. Butterscotch is my natural color, red for Molly Dodd, and deep brown for one night I had insomia and watched Ryan's Daughter and admired Sarah Miles' beautiful long brown hair. Never went goth black, never pink or green. Every month though a gray hair would pop up. It was irritating. I hated coloring my hair; hated the smell of the chemicals, how I couldn't let my head touch the furniture, and after it was dry, it looked cute but not as cute as the model on the box.
At 36, I decided to stop coloring my hair. I had an exhausting year; I sprained my jaw, my cats Electra and Baby died, and I was very burned out. I announced that except for the ocassional highlight, I was taking a break from coloring my hair.
There was a voice inside me that said " It will make you look old!" I said back and that would be so bad... I have a baby face so people naturally think I'm younger than I am. Which is great, but when you're at a jewelry store and a woman comes up to you and asks: "You're in high school. Would my granddaughter like this?" I was thirty-one at the time.
When I stopped coloring my hair the gray started to come in. However, my hair didn't turn all gray; now I have a streak of white. It reminded me of Bonnie Raitt's hair. I loved it. I earned every strand of my white hair.
Does this mean I'll go totally gray? Don't know. I remember reading about Emmylou Harris going gray at 40; I don't think I'm that brave. However, when I get up on the morning and brush my hair, I do see more white. The 22 year old me would've freaked out. The thirty-eight year old me just keeps on brushing, getting ready for the new day.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries