Back to My Roots

Walking with Cake: My grandmother, mother, newborn sister, and me

(My grandmother, my mom, and me (age 3), admiring my newborn sister, 1982.)

In this week’s post about dyeing my blue lace sweatshirt, you might have noticed that my roots are showing.  That’s how they look about four weeks after my monthly hair appointment, when I rotate between all-over color and highlights every other month.  I love the color and leave the salon feeling beautiful, but a few weeks later, the grey strands are poking through and I try my best to disguise them with eyeshadow until the next appointment.

Those grey hairs are my birthright, passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, and now to me.  My grandmother first went grey as a teenager and everyone knew her with white hair for the rest of her life.  When I was a girl, I would go shopping with Nonnie, and without fail, we always ran into someone she knew, since she grew up in San Antonio and lived there her entire life.  “I recognized your hair,” they’d say, and she would just smile.

And my mom colors her hair, and has for as long as I can remember.  The picture above, taken days after the birth of my younger sister, shows her with frosted hair (it was the 80s), when normally, she wears it very dark.  My hair was blonde back then, much like Rhys’ hair now, but it has darkened over the years, and to color the greys, I have to go even darker.

Until now.

I’m tired of feeling embarrassed, tired of feeling unkempt and not pretty when my roots show through after covering them monthly with very expensive dye.  I wish there was a magic pill I could swallow to rid my head of grey hair, but there isn’t, and there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ve decided to accept it and get on with my life.  I had my regular hair appointment yesterday, and instead of hiding those greys, I’m letting them shine. I’m growing out my hair color, whatever it might be these days, and I’m not looking back.

Walking with Cake: Full of greys.

(Subtle grey.)

I’m excited about this new phase, and to make the transition a bit easier, my stylist added highlights to blend the line between the old and new growth.  I’m hoping this plan will carry me through the next few months as my greys continue to grow.  I had a hard time selling her on my decision at first, and she firmly told me, “You’re too young to be grey,” when I called her last week.

But that’s not true at all, because obviously I am grey, and instead of hiding and fearing it, I’m embracing it wholeheartedly.  I’m 35, with two young boys, and I’m healthy and full of life.  I don’t feel old, and in many ways, I feel more confident and beautiful than I did in my twenties.  I can do this, and it’s just hair, after all.  But I’m so tired of being bound by a bottle of dye, so I’m letting it go.  Not completely, because I think I’ll need some highlights now and then to brighten things up, but at least I won’t spend hours of my day in a chair once a month, my head wrapped in foil and strange-smelling chemicals, only to wash the expensive dye down the drain each time I wash my hair.

I found a large online presence for women going grey, and many of their stories inspired me as I begin this new journey.  Here are a few that truly resonated with me.

Sara’s story of going grey in her 30s, after the birth of her second baby.

“A chic designer goes gray.”

And a story, in six parts, of a 41-year-old woman going grey with highlights.  I’m hoping my hair will look like hers.  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6.

I hope to share pictures with you after each appointment, so stay tuned!  I’m also linking up with Allie from Everyday Adventures as she begins a new hair journey of her own.

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