Thursday, May 08, 2008

"with every lesson learned, a line upon your beautiful face"

I've been keeping it in the medicine cabinet in my bathroom. I see it each time I put in or remove my contacts. Or, at least, I've seen it each time since I first discovered it two weeks ago. I'm not sure why I've been saving it. It's some creepy, momentous souvenir and I'm sure my hanging onto it reveals some bizarre character flaw. But as character flaws make for interesting characters, I can forgive my own behavior.

"It" is my first grey hair.

I discovered it two weeks ago in the bathroom at work. My hair is normally a blond/red rusty honey mix, like a reddish beer with sunlight shining through it or like ... well, like that picture at the top of the blog. (D'oh!) I always thought blonds didn't grey ... or at least they didn't grey until they were well into their 50s. (And when they did, it looked good, right? Please God, make me a MILFy sextugenarian!) My dad, who has dirty blond hair had a red beard all my life. It didn't start greying until after 50. Now, closing in on 62, it's almost all white. But he has no grey hair on his head. My mother is a dark brunette. Even she has very little grey hair - just a few laced here and there and some at her temples. And she didn't grey at all until after 40.

So what is this? How does the golden retriever girl with anti-grey hair genes get a grey hair in her early 30s? I don't even have kids yet. Aren't kids supposed to be the catalyst for grey hair? I have had a stressful year. Actually the last two years have been kinda stressful for me - the thesis that wouldn't quit, finally finding my career, buying our first house and most importantly: spotty health resulting in two emergency surgeries (one saved my life, ultimately) each within two months of each other. All things considered, I should be glad a single grey hair is all that testifies to the stress and heartache that I've been suppressing.

Why haven't I tossed it yet, though? I can't put my finger on my need to hang onto it. Partly I think I want to hang onto it to remind me to take better care of myself - eat right, exercise, pray, release, breathe etc. Partly I also think it's a battle scar. When I was younger, I said I'd age gracefully and be proud of my wrinkles, knowing each one told a story. Maybe my grey hair is a storyteller of sorts. Maybe I keep it around just for the novelty of it, like how my mom hung onto the first tooth I ever lost. Maybe I'm keeping it to remind me that I'm more mature than I give myself credit for (or live up to, sometimes?). Deep down though, I can't help but think I'm hanging onto as a reminder of my own mortality and a reminder not to fear it.

Got any better explanations?


Sonnjea B said...

I'd suggest poor housekeeping habits, but that would be rude.

I started going gray before I was 20 (unlike you, I have serious gray genes). Except for my hair, I look younger than I am. So I color it and don't give it another thought.

mommanator said...

Girl! ONE GREY hair- my goodness you are now damaged! only kidding- you didnt pull it did you- they say 2 grow out if you pull em out!
I have some grey hair, more than my mom or dad at this age, but whats grey hair that can't be colored! I have strawberry blonde hair or blonde- whatever I pick up and could care less about the grey.
AT least you have hair! and by the pic you posted once a time-some pretty lovely hair at that. I sometimes think the environment has something to do with it greying- seeems more folk at younger ages are turning grey. Actually both my daughters have more grey than me. My hair is one thing I really like about myself- if that makes sence- I have it cut shortish, I call it wash and go hair. I shower, clean my hair, get out either run a brush or comb thru it and it always looks good- I have some curl to my hair.

Pearl said...

I think there's something interesting about the changes that happen in our bodies that we can't control, and our hair changing colour is one of those things. I can see why you'd keep it.

I noticed my first greys at 26, when I was working in Washington. I don't know if it was the way the mirrors were lit on Capitol Hill, or just the environment, but I haven't noticed a single grey since I got back to Britain. And, weirdly, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my British colleagues started noticing gray for the first time while working there. My God. America made me fat and grey. Cheers guys.

JoeinVegas said...

Oh - you might keep the first but . . .

Darla D said...

Molly, I got my first when I was NINETEEN and am now completely gray. I never thought I'd color it - never thought I'd care. But of course here I am, doing it anyway. I guess it's not a big deal, in the scheme of things, but I know how you feel. Maybe we should take Pearl's advice and live abroad (although, come to think of it, that didn't help me much, did it? Still gray and more gray!).