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?