Going Gray: Embracing My Authentic Self

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These last couple of years, being forced to stay inside for almost a year of it, I struggled. I struggled with the stress eating and consequential weight gain. I struggled with my career.

And, I struggled with not being as social as I usually am.

Mom working at home on a computerWorking in sales and typically walking door-to-door to businesses and then being stuck behind a computer in your own home and still expected to meet monthly quotas was hard… but humbling.

All these struggles made me sad, made me angry at times, resentful, made me doubt who I was and who I always thought I would be. They made me doubt the self-love and confidence I had accumulated over 30 years, but all of that ‘perfectionist’ and ‘love yourself in correlation with your accomplishments’ attitude had me feeling lost and out of control.

Meanwhile, I had an idea one night about a business venture I wanted to start.  I have taken small steps in that direction, and have told many loved ones about it, for motivation, for accountability, for some sort of free marketing to see people’s reactions.

During all of this, I had to change the way I viewed my entire life.

If I went into business for myself, who would pick up the kids from school? What days should I be closed?

Will I have enough time for the things and the people that I love? Is this just a part of the hustle? Will I have to sacrifice time with my children and my husband, with my friends?  How will I have time to do grocery shopping? Doctor appointments? Hair appointments? The list goes on and on.

Mom selfie
This is how dark I always kept my hair.

I knew I had to make more small steps. So small in fact, that it started with my hair.

That was when this journey began.

I made the decision to stop coloring my hair and the strands that I have so lovingly dubbed my “sparklers”.  If any of you are like me, I have been box coloring my hair since I was 16 years old. I never had gray sparklers; my sparklers are pure white.

Stark. Sparkly. White.

This process has not been an easy one, but it has taught me things about myself I needed to learn.

Mom at salon getting hair colored
I spent 25% of my life in a salon chair.

I have been in the salon every 4 weeks for years now. I have spent endless amounts of time and money to cover up even a centimeter of growth.

For so long, I have attached my self-love to covering up things about me that I did not want people to see.

I wanted people to view me the way I wanted to be seen—with no imperfections, like those pesky white roots. 

This is an enormous amount of pressure! We all do a version of this, but I have been covering up my hair for over half of my life.

Mom coloring her hair in the bathroom
At home during quarantine still coloring my roots… for nobody but myself.

So for the last 6 months, I have been covering up my new growth with root cover up spray and parting it down the middle so that my long strands cover the hair by my forehead all the way down to my ears.

Recently, on my birthday back in August, I decided not to spray it anymore. And do you know what I found out? The only person that cared about my hair… was me.  

Nobody pointed and laughed, nobody treated me differently, nobody questioned why I wanted to do this. Nobody said I was ugly, nobody cared like I had once thought they would. I don’t know if it’s because I might have a smidge of RBF or because I part it on the side now where it is noticeable, but people just don’t even stare at it.

Every time I look at myself in the mirror nowadays, I see my heritage.

I see the strong women of my family that I remember from my childhood days with white hair. My sparklers (which have grown in number significantly since the ripe age of 16 years old) are something to be celebrated, by no one else but ME. I am embracing my true authentic self.

Mom letting hair go grayEach sparkly strand is a lesson learned, a year of wisdom, a moment of sweet clarity, a matriarch of my family coming out through me to be seen and appreciated for what they are. My unfinished, half and half hair business has been something I can control, is a small step towards goals I want to reach and is teaching my children to embrace who they are at a young age.

I wake up everyday knowing that this process will take years to be fully executed. And for some reason, that gives me more motivation and hope because I know that nothing significant happens overnight, including self-love.  

Who knows the person I will become when this hair process is finalized.

Hopefully she will be unrecognizable, but completely, wholly and intentionally her unique self.

Mom proud of her gray hair

1 COMMENT

  1. Good for you, girl! You are gorgeous anyway without a line on your face, so you can totally rock au natural. My “sparklers” are coming in exactly where yours are. My mom was solid white by her early 30’s so I know it’s inevitable. Hopefully I will be able to embrace it as gracefully as you are!!!

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