My Grey Crown of Glory…

So let’s just publicly state that I really, really dislike dying my hair.

I always knew it would be this way. I come from a long line of women who greyed prematurely. I found my first grey hair when I was in Grade 12. It was a bit of a shock, but really, I was fortunate – it could have been much earlier.

I held off on dying my hair as long as possible, because I knew that my time with my original hair colour was short and fleeting. I started highlighting my hair, because at least the original colour still showed through, but it finally reached the point where I needed to just give in and accept that it was time to dye all of my hair.

That was probably 10 years ago. And you know what? I’m just getting kinda sick of it. Not in a complaining way, but rather in a “I’m starting to question if this is actually a good idea” kind of way.

There are three pictures in my mind that I keep chewing on:

Picture #1:

I was driving down a residential street in Winnipeg one day when I saw a business woman getting out of her car. She was amazingly dressed – very professional and tasteful. She had short, modern hair – kind of edgy and stylish. And her hair was most decidedly grey.

She looked awesome.

As I kept driving, I kept wondering, “Could I pull that off?” I’d need an amazing haircut. I’d need to look like I was doing it on purpose, instead of looking like a shluffy, tired mom who just didn’t care anymore…

Picture #2

I was reading a yoga magazine at my massage therapist’s office, and came across an article about a yoga instructor who stopped dying her hair in order to accept who she truly was. She said she experienced such a huge sense of peace, acceptance, and joy from simply being herself, grey hair and all. She looked so comfortable in her own skin. (And her own hair!)

I started wondering, “How freeing would it be to just…stop? To stop letting society tell me what I need to look like, and just look like who I really am.

Picture #3

I saw this picture posted on my hairdresser’s facebook page:

grey hairsource

It’s stayed with me for months. I think she’s beautiful. In a really weird, totally against what has been culturally acceptable for years kind of way. But if you check out “funky grey hair” on Pinterest, it is amazing what’s out there. Is our culture changing it’s opinion on grey hair?

So who get’s to say what’s acceptable and beautiful? Who gets to tell me that I’m not beautiful if I have too much grey hair at too young an age?

I’ve got Proverbs 16:31 stuck in my head:

Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.

Now, obviously, the woman in that photo did not gain her grey hair by living a godly life. She just made an appointment with her hair dresser.

But why do I keep fighting what God has created my body to do? Every single one of us will end up with grey hair, if we live long enough. What’s keeping me from embracing that? Am I afraid of what people will think? Afraid of aging?

Yes, to both of those….

I showed that photo to Ben and Anika, and the response was quite different. Ben is so easy-going, I could probably shave myself completely bald, and he wouldn’t have an issue with it. Anika, on the other hand, told me she would shave my head bald in the middle of the night if I ever made it look like that. Plus, she pointed out that the woman in the photo was naked, so that settled it for her.

But I’m still thinking about it…..I’ll probably keep thinking for a few years to come, but someday, much sooner than most of my peers, I think you’ll see me finally accepting my “crown of glory”!;)

What are your thoughts on grey hair?!

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14 thoughts on “My Grey Crown of Glory…

  1. I am 38 and have a handful of greys. I haven’t dyed my hair in a few months but have been meaning to. Last summer at the beach I saw a woman about my age with a full head of naturally grey hair frolicking with a man. From a distance I thought it was the mans mother. She definitely made a lasting impression on me. She looked good. A little shocking but there was no doubt she was comfortable in her own skin, um, hair.

    • Ha! Thanks for sharing this picture! “Frolicking with a man” sounds so energetic and young, not the typical description for someone with grey hair!:)

  2. Interesting post. Definitely something I’ve thought about and am still thinking about. My mom has been grey all my life. When I was a kid, it was a glorious salt and pepper and I was proud of her for being so comfortable with it. I wanted to be like her. Of course, I didn’t really think it through far enough to realize just how quickly that chance would come;) And I did get a lot of questions about whether she was my mom or my grandma. Right now, I’m not ready to be grey. I feel beautiful with a great dye job. But how and when will that change? There is definitely a point where you look too old for dyed hair too. At least, that’s what I think.

    • I’ve also been thinking there will come a time when I’ll feel ready to be grey, and know when I get too old for dyed hair. I wonder if I really WILL know, though – seems like the kind of thing I could be in denial about…

  3. Interesting post! I’m at the point where I *should* really begin to dye my hair. But I really don’t want the hassle. Nor do I want to have the ‘shluffy mom look.’ Right now I’m trying to find cute ways to do my hair. My husband could care less- as long as I’m nicely groomed otherwise.

    • Stay strong! Who cares what you “should” do!! I think it would be so much easier to go grey gradually, then start dying it, and have to figure out when to stop or how to make that switch gradually with hair dye.

  4. I definitely think that in our society we need to rethink the emphasis we put on looking young, and how we dread to look old. I believe part of this problem is we have over-glorified youth, and rejected aging instead of looking for the blessings at all ends and parts of the spectrum. Why is it better to look young? I honestly don’t want people to think that I am 20 or even 30. I’m not. Hopefully I am a better, wiser person than I was at that age. Having said that, I realize that since I seem to have inherited my Dad’s tendancy to not grey prematurely, it may be easier for me than for those who grey earlier, and so I do respect everyone’s choice of how they look. Only never think that you are not beautiful because of grey hair.

    • Thanks for this, Auntie Gloria! You are right, we do live in a society that fights aging, and I think also looks down on the elderly. I love what you say about not wanting to be mistaken for a younger age than you are! I think about that each birthday – I don’t always like the particular number I might be turning, but I like where I’m at in life. I wouldn’t want to go back! Now if I can just accept the grey hair to go with it!!

  5. I’m a little uncomfortable with the comments putting so much emphasis on our outward appearance. If we’re discussing the issue of letting our hair be naturally grey instead of “pretending” it’s actually not, why is there always such an emphasis on styling it well. I keep hearing people say that kind of thing. I hate the term “shluffy old mom”…I’m sure that’s what people think of me and yet I refuse to become obsessed with my appearance even though I hate to be thought of like that (and I know it’s just a matter of time before my WHITE hair overpowers my auburn strands. :) ). It’s just so much easier to whip my hair up into a ponytail, and so much quicker! Leaves me time to get something more important done. :) Also, most people seem to agree that the only way someone should wear their grey hair is short. I get so aggravated by this. I love the picture of the naked :) lady with long grey hair. Let’s challenge what’s acceptable, people!!!!! Short grey hair is fine…but not the only way!

    • Hmm, this is a tough comment to respond to!! You make a number of good points, but they hit so close to sensitive spots! I think this discussion touches on many points that are very difficult for many women to deal with – appearance, aging, insecurities, cultural pressures. I am glad to hear that you have the courage to stand against what’s culturally “acceptable”. In all honesty, I am not there yet! There’s a wide range between not caring about physical appearance, and being “obsessed” with it, and I’m not sure where I fall on that spectrum. I want to look young and beautiful, and there are strong stereotypes that have been drilled into my head since a young age as to how (or why!) to go about looking young and beautiful.

      And as much as I know that a godly woman should be most concerned with inward beauty, there is no denying the fact that God made us to be lovers of beauty, and we are drawn to outer physical beauty in others. Society has really messed around with our definition of “beauty”, and reclaiming that is a process which could be extremely difficult.

      To further complicate things, I think some people just care more about physical appearance, and enjoy hair and clothes and make-up. It can be an artistic expression, a creative outlet. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, but I definitely enjoy those things. I desire balance in my life, and don’t want to get too wrapped up in all of it, but I do enjoy them. Is there room for that enjoyment while still placing the emphasis on internal beauty?

      And I have to say, about the long grey hair. I love it! My own grey hair seems to be very course and wirey, so I’m not even sure if that’s going to work for me – shorter hair might be a necessity! No idea how these things work, so I guess I’ll find out when the time comes! Either way, I will want to style it well, because I always want my hair styled well. Does that make me shallow? Insecure? Obsessed? Don’t know – I don’t think so, but it’s definitely an area where I want to be listening to what God is telling me, and keeping a soft heart so that if I begin to feel convicted, I will be obedient and act on it.

      • I may not have made my opinion completely clear, and it is only that: my opinion. I’m certainly not trying to say that I’m free from insecurity or obsession about some things that don’t deserve it. I’m also not trying to say that enjoying looking good is a terrible thing. I just feel like often too much emphasis/time/energy/money is put into outward appearance. And, I agree with your comment that we need to reclaim what beauty even is! Who is it who told us that a certain way to look is the most beautiful way? So, I guess my thought is just that “styled well” can mean so many different things. I hate for people to feel the pressure that the only way they don’t look “shluffy” is if they spend a huge amount of time on their hair. I also find that I have to rethink some of the things that I’ve never spent a lot of time on because I have daughters that are not the same as me. I want them to feel beautiful but not to be constantly thinking about how they look. I realize that one of my daughters is more concerned with the outward appearance than the other and I’m somewhere in between, maybe. This is not just an easy one-right-way issue, that’s for sure. I’m challenging myself as well to not just accept what the world tells us about beauty. The answers to some of these questions will be different for you than for me and I’m pretty sure that’s okay. I just think we need to be careful about how we define acceptable and beautiful. It’s a great issue to have a conversation about.

      • Sometimes I actually wish there were more specific guidelines to follow on the whole subject! I believe in living out the Christian life in community and accountability, but that gets so tricky when there are many different opinions, and no clear-cut answer! But I guess having to be in conversation about it helps community grow!

        And oh my goodness, bringing our sweet daughters into the whole issue makes it much more challenging!! I’m needing to pray for lots of wisdom these days!

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