I just left the hair salon with my wet hair stuffed under a baseball cap. I have horses to ride, edits on my latest manuscript to do, and a lesson to teach, and I have no need and no time for a blow dry. But I will always make time to cover the insidious gray hair that, like weeds after a spring storm, are trying to take over my head.
I don’t care about the gray-hair trend. I have always been a bit of a rebel. I don’t care that letting your hair go gray has become a statement of wisdom and power. Though I suppose there is a certain freedom gained from not having to hit the hair salon every couple of weeks, coloring my hair is a sacrifice I willingly make.
Some might argue that I’m trying to hold onto my youth, refusing to accept my aging self, but I feel my age every morning when I get out of bed, when I lift 50 pounds horse feed, stack 100-pound hay bales, when I attempt downward dog, when I try to read the small print on anything. I feel the years, all 63 of them, and I take satisfaction in that.
Let someone have to guess, at least from far off, where I stand on the timeline of life. I want my appearance to align with my determination to not let age define me.
I’ve never had Botox. I accept the crinkly skin on my muscled arms and regard my web of spider veins with fascination. But I don’t want to be labeled from a distance as a grandma. Don’t get me wrong: Grandmas are wonderful, but they are often associated with being old, and I am anything but. Let someone have to guess, at least from far off, where I stand on the timeline of life. I want my appearance to align with my determination to not let age define me.
Like photographs, we fade with age. In my opinion, gray hair only accentuates that. My English and Irish heritage gave me pale skin, and coloring my hair is my way of trying to prevent my image from fading until it can no longer be seen. It’s the same reason I go to the gym five days a week, take care to put on makeup, and choose clothes that are ageless. I have no desire to feel invisible.
I am happy being the age I am, and I am happy for every birthday that lies ahead of me. I am settled in my sense of self, secure in whom I am, delighted by the life I lead, but I will never give in to a trend simply because other people deem it empowering.
Power comes from living your own life, following your own path. And my path leads right to the hair salon.
Kathryn Rishoff is a writer living in California. You can learn more about her at rishoffwrites.com.