Posts Tagged ‘growing older’

For almost an entire week I told myself it wasn’t what it looked like. It was just a trick of the eye; a combination of bad lighting and a poor angle. There was no way it could be what it appeared to be. No way.

Until I discovered that it was.

My first grey hair.

I saw it first about a week ago and convinced myself that it was just really blonde. I have learned that being a redhead means having all kinds of crazy shades in my hair – all the way from black to platinum blonde – so I didn’t think much of it.

But every time I looked in the mirror my eyes were automatically drawn to it until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to know, for good or bad.

Why I chose that particular moment, standing not in the privacy of my own bathroom at home but rather in a public washroom at my office, I’ll never know. I just decided I had to know. It couldn’t wait one minute longer.

So I leaned over the sink and stuck my face as close to the mirror as it would go. And there it was, right there in the middle of my part, right there in the front. Looking closely there was really no way I could deny it. It wasn’t platinum blonde but rather an almost shiny white colour. I couldn’t pretend any longer.

And then I did what any self-respecting person would do in my situation.

I pulled it out.

I know you’re not supposed to pull them out, but seriously? Maybe there are people out there with more self-restraint (and self-esteem) than me but they certainly aren’t any people I know.

So there I stood, the hair in my hand, in a public washroom where one of my coworkers could barge in at any moment. And I didn’t know what to do. For some reason it didn’t feel right to throw it away. Instead I turned, walked out the door and down the hallway with it still clutched in my hand.

Down the hall, through two more doors until I was back in my office, sitting in my chair. I pulled out an envelope, stuck the grey hair in it, sealed it and tucked it in my purse.

I have no idea why.

What am I going to do with this thing? Carry it around in my purse for months? Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything. But something about it seemed so monumental that I couldn’t throw it out. A little part of me wants to tape it in a scrapbook, a baby book of getting older, if you will. Then I would have somewhere to keep track of all of these things, first grey hair, first day wearing reading glasses, first hot flash. All of these things that mean I’m getting older. How come there’s no scrapbook for those things?

Because we’ve been taught that getting older is something to dread, not celebrate; something to hide, not flaunt. And I’ve been a good student, I’ve lapped up all of those lessons and filed them away, so ingrained that I’m not ready to see this as a positive.

Instead, years of hair dye and root touch-ups flashed before my eyes. There is nothing graceful about my vision of getting older and I hate myself for it.

I wish I could have left that first grey hair right where it was, not caring who saw it, a badge of some kind, earned over the years.

But I couldn’t.

So it sits in an envelope in my purse, maybe waiting for a day when looking at it won’t make me sad.

Or maybe just waiting to be joined by grey hair number two?

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