It’s been about six months; plenty of time to adjust expectations. Yet, with each glimpse in the mirror, I am brought up short. I had no idea how much gray Dennis was hiding with his expertly applied dye.

It’s been about six years. Acting on impulse, I combed the dye through the white streak along my part, turning it a dazzling shade of fuchsia. Dennis had warned me earlier in the day: “When it starts to fade, it’s going to look horrible. You’ll have to let me fix it.”

I did not heed his professional advice. I was walking 60 miles to honor my loved ones who had fought—and some who had succumbed to—breast cancer and I was going “all out,” from the tips of my calloused toes to the roots of my pink scalp.

After many weeks of wearing headbands and hats to hide my faded pink-to-orange locks, I finally succumbed to vanity. I called Dennis: “Are you free tomorrow morning for a cut and color? I need you to fix this.”

He was a good sport, only gently teasing me about my self-inflicted clown look. Once he had worked his magic—returning me to my natural shade of brown and disguising me as a 30-something—I couldn’t stop myself from scheduling regular appointments.

Until one day, when I said, “Let’s just cut it today. I’m going to let it grow out.”

Packing for summer camp—where I work in the ceramics studio with my unruly curls tucked under a headband and walk the hills wearing a hat to protect my skin—I’d decided it was time to embrace the gray.

Dennis protested: “But you’ll look so much older.”

That’s okay. I am older.

I am lucky to have inherited my Grandma’s skin. With the exception crow’s feet earned honestly through smiling, I have no wrinkles. But I also inherited my Grandma’s hair. Recently, I did the math: she was 55 when I was born, and already quite gray. But in this picture from her 80th birthday, I see more pepper than salt framing her youthful face.

One camper admired my new hairdo, telling me that it gave me gravitas. “That’s a ten-cent word for a 12-year old,” I told him. I’m not sure gravitas is what I was aiming for, but I’ll take the compliment as it was intended.

Dennis is right, of course, I am too young to be so gray.
But I can’t simply climb out of the genetic pool into which I was born and dive into another.

Maybe next month I’ll ask him to apply some Blue Envy to my streaks of white.

It would be fun to go “all out” for Hanukkah.


Comments (2)

Wow…can’t wait to see your new look in February. We could streak your hair the colours of one of the football teams as we’ll be together for the Super Bowl (and my bday).

I’m a baseball fan, but I might be “game” for birthday celebration antics! Dennis will definitely not approve, though.

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