For many years I used permanent color on my hair, 15 years to be exact. The color that I always chose was honey blonde. Of course, on my black hair that translated to a sort of reddish, blondish brown color. Once I went natural, my curly colored ends and dark roots created a stunning contrast and I thought I looked real cute.
The damage to my ends, however, was not cute. After my second big chop I decided to ditch the color for a TOTALLY natural experience. It was at that moment that I discovered hundreds of gray hairs throughout my entire head! It was quite a shock and at first I was horrified. Not wanting to ruin my natural experience I tried henna as a natural alternative to permanent color. Little did I know that the henna would turn all of the grays to a bright red hue which would dim little by little after each wash. It was kind of cool actually and I didn’t mind it much.
Here is the vid that I made about my transition from coloring my natural hair
As my grays once again became more apparent I then noticed how the strands were a just a bit tougher than my other strands of hair. They were also a little wirey and less apt to behave as the rest of my hair did when using products. As I got to know this gray hair of mine, I started to enjoy it and even understand it. I have came to realize that my gray hairs are kind of like an older version me. Stronger, tougher, coarse, lol and yes LESS apt to behave! Today, I embrace my gray natural hair. I wear it proudly as if it were a badge of accomplishment in life. You see I have many friends who were sadly taken away from this earth before they were able to see their gray hair.
I rejoice in the fact that I am here and get to enjoy mine. I often think of my granny with her beautiful salt & pepper grayed afro and I miss her. I wish she had been here long enough for her hair to turn completely white because then I could have had a little more time with her. When I look in my husband’s face and I see gray in his beard I rejoice because when I met him when his beard was all black. I am enjoying growing old with him. When I look in the mirror and I see the lines in my face and the grays in my hair, I am grateful that I have been allowed to live to see all of these days. I don’t knock people who choose to color their hair. To each her own. I just choose to accept what I have been given. I chalk each gray hair up to a wonderful experience that I have had in this life and pray that I am blessed with many more. There is honor is aging and I wish that we as a society could learn to embrace it and all of physical attributes that come with it.
(Originally written for Carols Daughter TransitioningMovement.com)