I’m not grey… I glitter.
I was listening to a Mamma Mia podcast recently. I actually LOVE these Podcasts but when they suggested that not keeping up your hair colouring and your make up regime was ‘anti-self care’ it left me screaming. They were praising the choice, but still – rejecting the pressure to look 10 years younger is REAL and GENUINE self care.
Isn’t it clever that all of our physical upkeep has been branded as self care? How very clever of a beauty industry who want us to spend our time, money, attention and anxiety on looking younger and of a society who fails to value older women? How clever to convince us that all this upkeep is self care.
All those rituals and primping and the battle to appear a decade younger, has been labelled self care? Ruining ourselves at the gym (if we don’t like it) to get the body we think we should have – self care!
How much self care is actually sabotaging our genuine sense of self?
I am calling BULLSHIT.
I’ve been every colour from platinum to black. Recently I made the decision to let my glitter glow. To grow out my grey.
Greying is a radical act. It’s embracing the age you actually are, rejecting the pressure to look a decade younger and then STILL demanding to be SEEN
I have NOT given up self care – in fact this decision feels like one of the most genuine, self compassionate, powerful and carings thing I can do for myself.
And I have never felt better about my hair. I feel sexy and stylish and oh so unique. Mother nature has given me a beautiful greying pattern and I find myself looking in the mirror and thanking her for my very last hair colouring.
I am no longer feeling fabulous for those two week when my colour is fresh, and then feeling shit about myself for the following four until my next colour session.
My hair is so healthy I can almost hear it thanking me for the chemical reprieve.
I am no longer filled with panic if my long held hair appointment with my colouring genius clashes with a really important appointment – having to choose between a fresh colour and maybe a school commitment for the kids or a medical appointment.
This is me, the real me. I am wearing the most authentic version of myself. And I LOVE it.
I’m not a patient person. Hats off to the women who can laboriously grow out their glitter. I didn’t actually realise how much glitter I had until I went brunette again. About one week after my hair was cut and coloured, I noticed the glitter peeking through. Why, hello there!
I’ve been working hard at being more authentic. Of accepting all of my feelings as legitimate – allowing sadness and grief as much welcome I would give happiness and joy. I’ve been working hard at letting those in my world know when I’m not coping so well and when I need help, and when I need rest.
I felt a deep desire to be nakedly me – not really naked, because no one really wants to see that.
So, I sat myself down at my hair dresser and asked for a buzz cut – get rid of everything that wasn’t genuinely me.
I feel free.
I was talking to my sister, trying to explain exactly how I was feeling about my new glittery self. And I said I felt camouflaged.
But that’s not the right word, and I think it’s kind of why a lot of us rage against glittery greys and keep colouring our hair. Because we don’t want to disappear. We don’t want to become irrelevant. We want to stay visible.
Greyer women, older women in our culture are in fact invisible a lot of the time. That is a whole other story. I’ll pick the thread at that another day.
But for today, the word I was really looking for was ‘comfortable’ and ‘powerful’. I no longer feel competition at appearing a decade younger than I am. I actually feel a LOT younger than when I was platinum blonde. I feel powerful being exactly as I am.
I don’t intend to go quietly into invisibility. I’ll rage against that. But, for now, I am content and a little bit giddy with my glitter.
Thank you, mother nature, for this, my very last colour job. And thank you Mother Nature for releasing me from the shackles of a beauty industry ‘self care’ myth.