Tuesday, June 06, 2023

when I grow up I want to be an old woman

There was a woman I followed on IG for quite a long while. A white American woman about my age, she is an illustrator with a big brain and often posted really insightful things.

She had very good posts in 2020 about George Floyd and the BLM movement, about allyship. She went to the Ukrainian border when the invasion happened and worked on the ground to assist fleeing Ukrainian refugees. I have a lot of respect for her. In most things.

I also followed her for her hair journey. She had, as I have, decided to stop colouring her hair and embrace the crone (my phrase which I employ more often and with less humour with every passing year). She has fairly wild hair like mine, hair with a mind of its own which requires a LOT of work if one has any interest in keeping it 'presentable' and a fairly tough skin if one doesn't care for social norms of presentability.

I have spent my whole life vacillating between the two. (The caring and the not caring, the work I've never really stuck with. I just ... can't.) 

Anyhoo. Emily and I were growing out years of hair colour and going grey together and feeling empowered and strong, she would post updates after hair dresser visits about not colouring her hair and how the grey was growing through and generally overshared in a way quite common to Americans and very gratifying to those of us more filtered but deeply curious.

And then one day, Emily appeared in a new headshot. With a bouncy head of styled curls, meticulously high-lighted and low-lighted in strands of multiple shades, woven together in a delicate and pleasing dance, and declared that she had decided to go back to colour because she 'didn't want to be seen to be giving up'.

Giving. Up.

Well fuck you Emily.

The irony of a B&W photo does not allude me. I went looking for a picture and found this one from exactly 1 year ago - 6 June 2022.
That felt like a synchronicity I couldn't ignore.

I no longer follow Emily, but I am still enjoying going grey. And every time I find a new silvery streak I sing Michelle Shocked to myself and think maybe, just maybe, if I give it enough time, my hair will come into its own in a full head of enviable silver locks. Maybe this is the glory it's been waiting for these last 48 years...

My grey hair, and this song lyric, is my daily reminder that aging is a privilege. One not afforded to everyone as I well know.

When I grow up, I want to be an old woman.


Sandra said...

I have been a grey haired old woman since 2005! It felt I spent my life having the skunk stripe colored in. I had brown/black hair which made coloring a real pain in the neck! I like my grey hair and I too want to grow up to be an old woman!

DB Stewart said...

Yup, fuck Emily.
I'm happy to be a bit of an old guy now too.

Molly said...

Badge of honour!

Janice said...

I have been following you for many years. I gave up on coloring my hair many years ago.
I love my white hair. At 71 I think I look my age.

Bohemian said...

I went with Dreadlocks after Age 60 and now just Wish I'd done it 30-40 Years earlier. I don't think anyone should be concerned about what anyone else feels about how they dress or wear their Hair.

Denise E Clemen said...

Being and old woman isn't too bad. I stopped coloring at 54. It took a while. Now I'm silver. I think of myself as the garden crone.