You see my grays and decide that I’m old n faded
But you don’t see my light
You see my crinkled eyes
But don’t see the suns I’ve braved
You see the laugh lines
But you don’t see the tears I’ve laughed through
You see my hardened hands
But not the burden that they carried
If you see me but you don’t see me
Then you haven’t known me
You don’t know me.
I wish one could wake up one fine morning – may be in their late 50s – and be beautifully silver. But it is not meant to be that way. Or, may be, some of us make it more difficult for ourselves. Perhaps, it is a women thing – refusing to go gray. No, I am not generalizing, before you take offence! I am just talking about some of us – like me. Going gray has more difficult phases than all of the life put together, doesn’t it? Let’s see how many phases could one decipher. If you have more to add, feel free to comment and critique.
- Dreaded Sparkle – the first or the first few grays. They have no right to be there. Especially if you are in your 20s! They ought to be snipped or clipped or plucked or somehow dealt with. Aaah, now there are none to be seen by the world. What a relief!
- Wiry and Tougher Sparkle (turning into a sprinkle) – You may be fortunate and may take ages to get from sparkle to sprinkle. Or you may worry yourself into a fast-forward mode. We don’t know what drives it, do we? Anyway, the snipped, cut or “whatevered” grays are now more stubborn. They stand up – as if they they don’t want their presence to be denied. And they are thicker, wiry – they want to be seen more than your darker hair. You can still clip ’em, tuck ’em and just ignore ’em.
- Temple Blazer – Oh darn! Now it is not a sprinkle here and there that can be cut or tucked. It is right there! Bangs!? Yeah, those bangs can hide the temples and make you look younger. Go for it! It is not as gray everywhere else, just a few strands here and there. Much lesser than the temples, anyway.
- Still Natural – The rosemary, the curry leaves, the Indian gooseberry, the walnut hull – all spring out at you from the pages that are searched to still keep it “natural”. Oh, it works for a while. But just a while. You are too far gone (or the smell puts you off or it is plain messy!). Now what?
- Streaks – Oh yeah! They look so fashionable and a clever hairdresser can just weave his magic through your grays and not touch the darker hair and still hide your grays. Of course, it comes at a price. (I never did this – it somehow did not occur to me. I was thick in my head back then, I guess)
- Solid Color – You are now resigned and give in to the “ammonia free” color. You are happy coloring once in 4-6 weeks. And then slowly and steadily the frequency keeps going up. (I started at 6 weeks and stayed at 4 weeks till I finally gave up. I did not care much by this time. Or may be I did. But I had flippant answers for anyone who hinted at my grays).
- “Grays”fully Gray – Tired of doing anything and everything. You just decide to stop. Just completely stop. And then you see the solid demarcation – like the much desired border between some countries – and you get cold feet. The urge to color again is strong. Or perhaps, use some root powder to make that solid line a little soft. Cut that long hair to a 1” ponytail? Color some and not color the rest? Highlights and Lowlights? Oh, and all those comments “not your age to gray”, “you have a lifetime to be gray”, “what are you doing?!” And then you finally get there. happy and free! (I just cut my hair and I do not have a solid line as I still have some dark hair left – not a solid silver yet. )
My hair (read “I”) did not go through all the steps in reality, but did so in my head. I would love to hear your stories of courage or battle with the dreaded but beautiful and graceful gray.
P.S. I do wish that I had not grayed in my 20s. And I so wish I was a guy with all that silver – reading romance spoiled me, you see!