A few years ago I decided to stop hiding my grey hairs. I’ve noticed my grey hairs growing in for the last maybe 5-6 years. For the first few years, I decided that I would use demi-permanent hair color every 3 months or so to cover the grey hairs and fade out gradually instead of showing a harsh line. This was a $500 a year choice, but it felt right for me at the time. I know it’s possible to color your hair much less expensively, but I chose to have the help and care of my colorist in this instance and I was happy with that decision.
A few years ago I started seeing more friends of mine embracing their grey hair and letting it be. I like that and decided to stop coloring my hair also. I decided to own my grey hair and live more intimately with the natural progression of my whole body as it ages and changes. I love my age. I love the stage in my life that I am at. I don’t have any kind of sustained desire to go backwards in time because each new day brings me more self-acceptance, self-love, and more wisdom than any day of my past life.
It’s taken a long time and a lot of work to become 42.5 and feel some peace in my heart about my place in the world. I know the wrinkles on my face are from all the emotions that I have felt very deeply. I know the stretch marks on my hips, stomach and breasts are from when I have attempted to take in, push down, unearth, and release the weight and intensity of living my life in this body. My body has grown to accommodate and released to let go many times and it shows.
My body has scars and discolorations and freckles and dimples. It’s soft and vulnerable, and it’s a map of my life and my journey. There are times when I can look at myself in the mirror or even just in my mind’s eye and see with love and compassion how miraculous and accommodating my body is, and I am. I message that I often feel from my body is, “I got you. I can hold you. I doesn’t matter what happens or how it looks. We got this. We can work with this.” I’m so grateful for my body and so humbled at the strength it takes to relax my desire to change or alter its natural state to try for some shape that I, or others, might find more acceptable, “healthier” or pleasing.
I want to hold my own hand as I get older, smile, and softly touch the visible, tangible changes and be amazed that it’s all happening and I am still here, alive, and get to choose how to move forward.
I used to search for those grey hairs and pull them out of my head and try to pretend that they didn’t happen. It’s so funny because they grow right back. My grey hairs are wild, defiant, and will not be controlled, um kay! They curl, stick out, and make themselves known. “Hi! Here I am! I’m a grey hair!”
I have enough of them now that they don’t stick out as much. I mostly embrace my grey hairs and feel the lifeyness that they have been through to exist. Some days it’s harder to accept and embrace. Some days I think I’d like to cover them up, smooth out my wrinkles, slim down my body, and then somehow I’d be happier or feel better? Some days I might let myself think that somehow turning back the clock visually might give me more time, or attract more people to my life that would make me happier. It’s a trap. I know it’s a false promise. I know those feelings and desires aren’t the truth. I know that exactly as I am today is the most true version of me and it takes a lot of strength to be seen exactly as I am without hiding any of the life that I’ve lived.
I want to live this way for myself and I want to do it for all humans. I celebrate any humans that find joy or comfort in altering their body in any way that they like. Please, you do you, and I will clap my hands and love you even more. I am not judging any decisions that any one else might make for themselves about how to be in their body in the best way for themselves at this time.
For myself, this is the way that feels right most of the time: Be natural. Honor my body and embrace its shape and the space it exists in. Always give myself room to breath and do not effort to hold back my weight, fit in where I don’t fit, or suck in what isn’t naturally sucked in. Care for myself in ways that embrace and accept my age and my stage in life. Move forward towards being the fullest expression of what’s inside of me and leave behind anything that tells me it’s not good enough or doesn’t look right or needs to be altered to be acceptable.
There will no doubt be many days when I look in the mirror and want to rewind the clock, cover my age up, dye my hair back to it’s darker color, and grasp at my more youth filled days. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And also, I pray to look up and out at the world and see my friends fully embracing themselves, their bodies, and their age in the best, most loving ways that they can, celebrating their natural beauty and loving each others shapes. I want to be one of those people that can inspire someone else when they need it too. I want to be inspired to be exactly myself at all times and to be so strong in that conviction that others and look can take courage to be themselves and live comfortably in their bodies right now, not when they put on the make up, lose the weight, get the new clothes, get the botox, or have the surgery.
At any moment, it’s entirely possible for me to relax, breath, and become more present to who I am…and it’s someone pretty great! The true comfort, ease, and peace from loving myself is always available, though not always easily accessible. My prayer today is to live in a way that makes it more easily accessible all the time.