I'm going to generalize and say that most women probably come to the point in confronting their age that they must decide: to dye or not to dye?
For me, the decision was made long before I ever had a single gray hair on my head. After watching other women that I know and love color their hair to cover the gray, I decided, probably in high school if I remember when, that I would "go gray gracefully." That is, when I found my first gray hair on my head, I would not dye my hair, but just let it go.
The summer after my junior year in college is when I found it.
I was sitting in my air-conditioned car, taking one last look in the mirror behind the visor before dashing into work at Sylvan in Fort Worth. I moved and something on my head glinted in the wake of the hot Texas sun. What?!? My first gray hair. When I originally made this pact with myself, I didn't figure that I would find a gray hair until I was thirty, at least. I mean, that's when I would finally be old, right?
To be honest, at that time, I also didn't ever anticipate teaching middle school, and I feel quite certain that this is the source of the other gray hair that has grown meanwhile.
I have not dyed my hair since that summer of 2000. In fact, I remember that I dyed it last on 9/9/99. I went to my friend Megan's apartment to do it. I'm a numbers person with a random memory.
I'm a little OCD with my hair (and I'm pretty sure I meet the clinical definition), so to say that I practiced great restraint in not removing any of the said gray hairs manually is an understatement. Eli's time in law school was a stressful time for me, too, for various reasons, and at some point during that year, I broke down and spent some time in front of a mirror extracting gray hairs. There weren't that many. I mean, I was maybe 28. And thus it began.
If I found a gray hair on my head that was long enough to get a hold of, I would just pull it out. Voila.
Something this last year has changed. Suddenly, my temples are more and more populated by the silver dust, fine and shiny. They have crept up on me. And they are too numerous to remove. So I'm at a crossroads now.
Do I continue to try to removed what I can, ending up with the accursed "unicorn" gray hairs sticking straight up on the top of my head but eluding removal? Or do I just let it go. Let my gray hair grow and be a part of the rest of my hair. At 33, is it time to start being graceful?
I wish that I could sit behind myself at church, and stare at the back of my head during the 40-minute sermon to see exactly how things really are. I can't tell much from the front-view in the mirror, in the light of the bathroom mirror.
I don't know what I'll do. Probably the latter option of letting it grow. We'll see...