Carolyn J. Rose
Twenty years ago I passed in front of a mirror in a poorly lit room and saw my mother.
Actually, I saw myself, but in the dim light with short mousy brown hair sprinkled with gray and a blouse resembling one she owned, the resemblance was uncanny.
The next day I streaked my hair and vowed to let it grow.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother was an attractive woman and I admired her. But my gut reaction was that I was too young to look like that—“like that” meaning “old.”
Now I’m about the age she was when I glanced into that mirror. My husband’s hair and beard are gray-white and the wrinkles in my face are telling me I’m not kidding anyone—least of all myself—with the golden-brown dye job I have now. It’s time to stop the cover-up.
I tried out the idea on some friends at the pool—some a little older and some a little younger. Comments ranged from “You seem to have lots of silvery white in there so I think it will look good” to “It’s your life” to “You can’t. You’ll look so old.”
My response? I am old. I’m started-on-Medicare-last-year old. Old enough that I don’t need to explain or defend a decision as minor as this.
Still, after two decades of dyeing, going gray won’t be easy. And it won’t be pretty. There will be growing pains. There will be moments when I reach for the phone to dial my hairdresser. There may even be tears.
But if I avoid mirrors, I think I can make it.
Root for me.