Friday, February 27, 2015

Fifty Strands of Grey



They're not sexy. But trust me, there's absolutely no shortage of gasps on my part every time I lay eyes on them. Thanks to this sense of horror, I'm also probably beating Anastasia Steele with the amount of "Oh my", "Jeez", "Crap" and "Holy Sh*t" that escape my mouth every time I take a good look at my head in the mirror. Though it's said that there's a thin line between pleasure and pain, I guarantee that mine all come from displeasure and the painful realization that these suckers are multiplying at an unbelievably fast rate and there's nothing much I can do to stop them. My hands are tied and unfortunately not in a naughty way. 

Fortunately though, these silvery-grey strands haven't quite invaded my entire head yet. For the most part, I can still pretend they don't exist as long as I keep my hair parted strategically. However, you have to agree that they're getting noticeably out of control and having Asian black hair doesn't help at all in concealing them. 

When I was in elementary school, I remember having a school assignment where we were asked to note how old our parents were. I asked my folks and at the time, my Mom was 35. For many, many years that followed, my Mom stayed 35 in my eyes. Nothing about her made me change my mind about her being perpetually 35 until I saw her hair strands change color. Bit by bit they surfaced and since my mother was never a fan of dyeing her hair, I had to stand back and watch these silver-grey strands populate larger areas of her head. As this happened, I was forced to adjust my perception and move her from 35 to somewhere 40ish, which was probably her real age at the time after all.

I hated it. Not because it made her less beautiful but because I had to then face the reality that my parents were aging. It seems silly, right? Of course everyone ages! But maybe constancy is a childhood necessity. Maybe deep down I had to believe that my parents will always be there, stay the same, stay young, healthy and simply ageless. 

Now that I'm on the other side, playing the part of the 40ish parent with aging hair (among other things), I'm a bit concerned about how my son feels.

When I asked him what he thinks about my grey strands, he said, "I'm kinda sad". When asked why, his response was, "Well, 'cos you're getting old. I kinda want you to stay young, you know".

This is definitely pain for me of a different kind. It's painful for any parent to see worries on their children's faces and especially so if it's of an existential kind. My son is 7. He really should only be worried about whether or not he'd be able to build his fancy house on Minecraft, or if I'd give him enough YouTube time the next day so he can watch his favorite toy reviewer. I was much older when I started feeling bothered by my parents' greying hair, but then again I was also much older by the time I became a parent, thus giving my son a much shorter period of time to enjoy my completely black crown.

Ah, the joys of being an older parent to a young child! I truly owe it to my son to stay as 'young' as I can, even if this means standing at the hair color aisle at the supermarket for a ridiculous amount of time just so I can choose the perfect hair dye shade that will cover my greys. No pain, no gain. So let me bust out the latex (gloves, that is), let the juices flow (or foam up from the can to the palm of my hand), and let me lose myself in the intoxicating scent of ammonia as I declare war against my fifty or so strands of grey.





























32 comments:

  1. I remember being worried about my parents aging when I was 7. And what I was going to do when I got old. But I was neurotic even back then.

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    1. LOL, same here Christy! This is why the hair dye aisle drives me crazy as well. ;-))

      Thanks so much for your thoughts! Hope you have a lovely week ahead!

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  2. The joys of aging Joy. Thus the reason I chop of all my hair. The longer I grow it the more grey shows up.

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    1. You don't look old at all, Kuya James. It must be your happy disposition! Thanks again for your comments!! :-))

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  3. I can't blame the fact that I dye my hair on my kids since they are grown, but I still go through that process every 6 weeks or so. It makes me feel better. It seems I watch mom age everyday and it breaks my heart but my dad will perpetually be 38 even though he was 46 when he died of a heart attack. For some reason it seemed like he was 38 for a very long time I would have been 6 years old then.

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    1. It really is hard to watch our parents age, more so for you, I can imagine. But on a different note, I have to be honest. You really don't look like a grandma so bravo! You are aging magnificently!

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    2. Ha! You ought to see me when I climb out of bed you would be shocked!!!!

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  4. from Stephanie Mark Lewis ---

    Funny but yet very poignant. The hands tied line.... Ha!! I understand where you are coming from with the wanting to shield them from the aging parent reality. I had my last at 40 and my first at 25 and I keep thinking what DIFFERENT mommies they got. Nice work, Joy. LOVED the title!!
    Stephanie

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  5. I'm a big advocate for embracing aging and loving the greys. I wonder what would happen if we taught our kids that getting older was something to look forward to, something to celebrate rather than something to fear?
    It's the reality of death coming closer that's the kicker. I haven't discovered a way to make that prospect disappear just yet x

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    1. I agree, Katie, that children need to be taught that aging is fine and that it's a gift rather than a curse. And yes, I believe more than anything, it's the thought of mortality that my son is afraid of. I think it doesn't help that he's also an only child and sometimes I sense from some of his comments that he's worried about what would happen to him when my husband and I die. It's sad but these are REAL things we do need to prepare him for.

      Thanks so much for your perspective! :-))

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  6. I've been coloring my hair for so long - I'm sure there are lots of gray ones in there but I never see them! It's definitely hard when we know our kids are worrying about us - but they worry a bit and move on, I think!

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    1. Good for you, Lana! At least you know your color works. I can never figure out what color to choose for my dark hair. Sticking to black bores me, but it's also the best bet for covering my grays. Oh well...the joys of aging. hahaha! Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely week ahead. BTW, are you attending BAMC15?? I would love to meet you finally!

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  7. I totally can relate and sadly yes my grey hairs are multiplying faster then I can keep up, too. I have already conceded to that lovely smell of hair dye and go pretty much ever 6 weeks now to rid myself of them. But like you, I truly hate the sight of them and also makes me feel older then I even am. I mean I truly not ready to concede to that just yet (if that makes sense).

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    1. Ugh, I really hate the smell of dyes. And I once bought a brand that says it has no ammonia and it did smell better. However, the color didn't do anything for me/ hardly changed anything, grrrr. I guess, we really just have to suck it up. Thanks for your comment, Janine! :-))

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  8. I am so with you on the hair situation. Overtime I see myself in the mirror I gasp! And since I've stopped colouring my hair - 1, because I can't afford to, and 2, since I haven't been able to afford to my hair actually feels HEALTHIER, I am the stage, where at the age of 37, do I just let my hair go au naturale? I always knew, as a redhead, my hair would go white early...still...

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    1. You still have that lovely red, Janine. Whatever you choose, I think you will rock it! And I'd rather choose graying but healthy hair over anything overly-dyed and unhealthy. Just sayin......Thanks so much!

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  9. I know how you feel...I fought those gray hairs for over 20 years. But I have come to realize that gray hair and a young face are very flattering. I know, you need to please yourself but I am just saying. And you need to know that a dye job is the beginning of a routine that you will learn to hate!

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    1. Ahhh yes, Barbara. That is so true, that dyeing is something I don't really look forward to. *sigh* But that's an interesting perspective--that gray hair and a young face are flattering. I think it gives the person a bit more character. I've always wondered why Stacy London has that white streak and only recently read that she's had it even before she was 20yrs old. Now she's very protective of it and considers it as her trademark look. So cool. Anyway, thanks so much for your comment! Have a fun week ahead!

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  10. Great topic. My mom was 32 when she had me and she let her go gray starting at 35 so I barely remember her any other way. In some ways she did look older than the other moms. BUT, she's had gorgeous white hair since she was about 50 and now that she's 70 in some ways she seems that she hasn't aged at all since she's looked about the same for 20 years. Another way to think about it, I guess! Meanwhile, I'm 38 and I have been coloring my hair to get rid of the gray since I was about 25. UGH!!!

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    1. That's such a nice story, Nina! I can almost imagine your Mom's hair. One of my grandmothers was the same. At some point, all her hair was evenly silver and it was beautiful. As for us, well, thank goodness there's hair dye! Thanks for your thoughts, Nina! Have a great week ahead :-)

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  11. As usual, a topic we can relate to. When my hair started going gray, it looked like I'd streaked it. For a few years that was great until one day someone told me it was transparent, almost white. I was 42 and even since have colored my hair. Must be pure white by now.

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    1. What drives me crazy about coloring my hair, Pennie, is that it takes me forever to choose a shade. Choices are great, but too much can drive me insane, haha! I wonder at what age I'll just let it go and let it stay white/gray/silver. Maybe 20 more years? We shall see.......Thanks so much, Pennie! Whatever color you have, you still rock!

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  12. It looks like we are at the same stage of our life Joy! And it sucks. I have to dye my hair to, but I keep delaying it. I must be in denial...

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    1. Denial has its perks! ;-) But seriously, I guess it's the inevitable and we just have to deal with it as best we can. It's nice to be in such great company though! :-))

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  13. "I kinda want you to stay young" made me smile, that's a sweet statement. I'm in my young 30's without a kid but I have been going grey for the past few years, to the point of someone pointed out a few months ago on the street "Wow, look at your hair!". It's been really forming at the front, especially in my bangs, nothing like some showcase grey! ;)

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    1. Hi Pamela! Thanks for your comment! Well, I guess as long as you're rocking it (and I believe you are) then by all means, right? I mean, look at Stacy London. I just recently found out that she is very protective of her gray hair to the point that it's become her trademark. I read that when she signed a contract with Pantene, there had to be a clause making sure that they won't make her get rid of it. Good for her! Anyway, thanks so much again and hope you have a good week ahead! :-)

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  14. It's interesting to me because my parents were considered older when I was a kid they had me at 32 which was "sooo old" back then :) now I love that it's ok to wait longer and parents come in all varieties

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    1. That's true, Amanda. Women are now opting for later marriages/partnerships, as well as delaying child bearing if that is what they opt for. And it's all okay. Parents in different varieties and most of all, more exciting variations in hair color! :-))

      Thanks so much for your thoughts!

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  15. My silvers have started to come in in full force over the last couple of years. I will color when I have the time but usually, like now, they are there. I never stopped to think how this makes my kids feel!

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  16. Cute post! And I can't get a color that covers them up for more than a few days. Those greys are dang stubborn!

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  17. Love your analogy :-) I can relate being closer to 50 now than 40...still get by with just highlighting for now. Not sure what my daughter thinks about this, though I know she's aware I'm a bit older than some of her friends' moms. But they all cover their grey too! It's all relative and it's all good!

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  18. Couple of thoughts on this Joy. Women with dark or black hair tend to have beautiful silver hair. Having said that, I was blonde at birth then brown haired later on, and my grey is a shabby mousey color. Coloring my hair isn't about getting older, it's about feeling good about myself, so I choose the bottle (of color). Eventually I may let it go grey, maybe not. Mum is 84 and still colors her hair. :)

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Let me know your thoughts!