This is a post about hair, and the way it makes you feel to have a style and colour that works, and portrays on the outside the image of who you think you might possibly be on the inside.
I was cruising around the net this morning and found "Going Gray Looking Great", a site dedicated to going women transitioning from processed to natural hair! Which had me thinking about my own hair and what colour it really is underneath the 'highlights', chunks and streaks. And do I really want to become acquainted again with the real me?
But, first, something I wrote a couple of years ago before the real, hardcore, effects of menopause began to take hold. I thought it might be interesting to see what I was thinking then, compared to present day when physical evidence is much more apparent!
Every once in a while, OK, let’s be honest, almost daily, I find myself staring in a mirror, and what starts as a quick fix of the hair or a lipstick touch-up becomes a critical assessment of what I see. I push and pull my face, considering my chin’s defining curve, or how the lines on each side of my mouth -- my smile lines -- remain long after my smile is gone. And then, while I stare in an unkind way at my refection, my mind wanders to consider changing what I see... 'Botox'... and other kinds of procedures that are mainstream in our culture and affordable, begin to lure me dangerously close. Part of the attraction is vanity, no doubt about it, but part of it is because the age I feel inside doesn’t match how I look on the outside. It’s easy to get stuck in the dichotomy of this.
One recent and memorable morning, as my husband and I lingered over our last breakfast in Maui, an older couple sat down at the table next to us. I was soon mesmerized by them. They appeared to be at least 80 years old and on vacation just as we were. And they were in love. They spoke in hushed voices -- she reaching over to touch his face. She smiled, eyes crinkled up in a brown, age spotted and furrowed face, and I caught a glimpse of unique beauty. The woman’s face wasn’t pretty, or smooth or made up to be more beautiful, but it was full of joy. Her face radiated joy. It radiated the beauty that only time can bring, the beauty of a woman loved for many years. And a woman who loved herself as she was.
Now I don’t pretend to know her life’s details, or know much beyond my obviously superficial observation, but seeing that woman made me stop and consider what true beauty really is. Which brings me back to the mirror and the face I look at each day with a little disappointment. And as I, and perhaps you too, occasionally give consideration to altering the signs of aging, I wonder if it might be better to embrace my age and stage as a gift? Aren’t the lines I would choose to erase the very indicators of wisdom and character, tried and tested and true? Would I wipe the slate clean of what proves me to be a survivor, creating a taut canvas rather than a beautiful masterpiece made more priceless with years? Some days I come awfully close to doing so.
It’s a battle, and one I am sure to fight again and again over the years. But, I’m determined to not give in to the message that says youthfulness equals happiness. I will seek to discover the joys of my aging beauty in new ways, ways sprinkled generously with wisdom and grace, rather than covet the untried, wild and illusive beauty of youth."
Two years after writing this heart felt piece, I can tell you that the battle has become more violent… the casualties including my middle, my face, my hair, my emotions, and my mind… not necessarily in that order and certainly not all at once, but still, I've found that this new reality of living in a mid-menopausal body is very difficult at times.
When I wrote 'Skin Deep', my concerns were limited to wrinkles… but now that the rest of my body has suddenly become involved, it's not so easy to philosophize and muster up that same resilient approach to aging. Every morning when I get dressed I grieve a little about my waistline, and as I take Maca nutrient supplements with my hot coffee, I consider whether they will really do what they promise… to balance and energize me enough to make a difference. I'm trying to figure out how to love myself again in a newly shaped body and how to accept this a reduced capacity in the task and productivity parts of me. It's not going to happen overnight!
So, just for fun, I thought I'd take a look at a few hairstyles that I've played with over the past couple of years… and consider whether they might work in gray. 'Cause gray and blond are not that different… are they?
Tell me what you think!
4 weeks ago