To Dye It or Not to Dye it?

Silver Streaks

Silver Streaks

I’d like to start this article by inviting your comments and opinions.

After 24 years as a navy spouse, which ended in divorce, I was looking at a life change, as many women do. I was an educated, stay-at-home mom, and when the boys grew up I maintained my stay-at-home job caring for my son with cerebral palsy.

Was I going to send him somewhere else to live and get a different job? The reality of that would mean being interviewed and selling the best me I could muster.

I know that the first face-to-face impression people get of someone is their appearance. And in this society, a youthful appearance is all the rage. I will soon celebrate 54 years on earth, and even though I still water ski, hike, and stay relatively active, even if with a few more aches and pains, I’m well aware of my age, which is really just two digits stuck together, but it still signifies the passing of time.

I was conversing with a friend a while back and told her that my hair was starting to look like my German Shepherd Dog’s fur; dark brown, with some copper and silver highlights. (I’m using the term “silver” instead of “gray” because it sounds prettier!) She laughed and said, “Oh, Dana, you’d better get to a beauty salon!”

“Why?” It doesn’t bother me,” I said. My friend Cheryle told me I should dye my hair before I set out for job interviews, and she worked in personnel for many years so her opinion was solid.

But I stand my ground. Why dye my hair? It doesn’t bother me! Apparently, it bothers everyone else in the working world because ultra thin strands of silver are not youthful while on the job, or anywhere else.

I’m here to say that it is my job to be older! And that means that the silver streaks, laugh lines, and loose skin are necessary in documenting my experiences in life.

I have a box of hair dye in the bathroom cupboard. I may use it just because. But I won’t use it because our society dictates that I’m supposed to look 30 when I’m clearly not. I bought it because I was ill for three weeks, a little depressed, and I thought it might cheer me up.

I haven’t yet been to a job interview because I am the care provider for my son, a decision he and I both agree is best for right now. And even he comments on my silver hair!

I’m embracing myself as a seasoned and experienced woman, but it’s increasingly difficult when few people share this view. I do like a challenge though.

I look at Jamie Lee Curtis and think, now there is a beautiful woman. She embraces who she is.

English: Jamie Lee Curtis at the World of Colo...

English: Jamie Lee Curtis at the World of Color premiere at Disney California Adventure Park, June 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The box of hair dye mocks me from inside the cupboard. My older sister once told me that hair dye actually made her hair “feel” more conditioned. My former mother-in-law said it made her hair more manageable and gives it body.

I’m hesitant about all the chemicals and that it will make my hair fall out! Everyone tells me that hair dye has improved and that it’s not as harsh as it once was.

More and more people say that if it makes you feel better about yourself go ahead and dye your hair. I feel fine about myself. The challenge is getting past the stigma of silver hair that everyone expresses.

Mt. Shasta, August 2012

Mt. Shasta, August 2012

Mountains are covered with white stuff and ridges and they are designated as beautiful! Why can’t women have this distinction?

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but if I walk around with silver hair will it hurt me? Or anyone else for that matter? I doubt it.

P.S. I think we should advertise varicose veins as “sexy!”


About Dana J. Dewey

I was a slow learner as a child and to overcome my fear of school, as an adult I attended many of them. I ended up with a master of science degree in counseling psychology and I'm a licensed mental health counselor who is passionate about mental health. This blog is about life, joy, and the pursuit of good mental health, and the eclectic way in which it's achieved. I'm blogging a memoir, The Tail Gunner's Daughter, and later, Parent-Able: Seven Strategies for Raising a Physically Disabled Child Without Going Insane.
This entry was posted in Family, Feature articles, health, Humor, psychology of life, Staying mentally healthy, stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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