April 6, 2014

daring "gray"tly. . . part 2

yesterday, i wrote about my time at #ACPA14, meeting Brené  Brown, and my journey toward daring greatly by applying for a PhD program. 
looking forward, i have one more "daring greatly" project on the horizon. 
though it might seem slightly superficial to some, this one took a little bit of soul searching on my end, and a lot of reading other people's blogs on the experience.
(a personal favorite has been How Bourgeois. i am grateful to the women who have shared their stories on the topic.) 

the next journey? 
i've decided to let my natural hair grow out. 
i've written about it before, but i started to go grey at 19. 
granted, in my "goth" years, i was coloring my hair with Manic Panic back at 16.
but even as i have shifted to more natural shades, i have been dying it regularly ever since.   
very regularly. 
and i started to reflect on how much longer i was willing to chase something that i can't catch. 
if i don't dye my hair every 2 or 3 weeks, it is clear to the world that i am very grey. 
and, let's be real, i never get around to coloring my hair every 2 or 3 weeks. 
which leads to many conversations where i watch people's eyes float to my hairline. 
and then i'm spending half of my energy in the conversation, and half giving myself a hard time for not "staying on top of" my gray. 
and the thing is. . .i don't really care that i have gray hair. 
i had more shame around looking like i don't have my life together than i do about my actual appearance. 
of all the things i want to spend my time and energy on, routine hair maintenance isn't one of them. 

i've told some people about my decision, and i've received mixed responses. 
some have been supportive. 
some have said i'm "too young" to go grey at 36. 
(which is funny. because i AM 36. and i AM grey. technically, i've just been "hiding" it.)
others have asked "how does bernie feel?"
to those folks, i say, you don't know bernie very well. 
he is a man who reads to the boys at night, does more than his fair share of dishes and laundry, and just wants the people he loves to be happy. 
and each time i take a step in this authenticity journey of embracing who i really am, and not what i think i should be, bern gains a happier and more whole partner. 
though he doesn't assume to have a say in the matter, he is very supportive. 
(caveat: because i dye my hair myself, i am assuming he is also excited about the future safety of the paint job in the bathroom. i've been known to make a few mistakes along the way. . . )

chopping my hair off would make for a quick transition. 
the problem is, i don't want to go short. 
i donated my hair in 2010 and didn't feel like myself for several years while i grew it back.
to avoid the world's worst ombre effect, i think i am going to get my hair highlighted a bit while i transition to grey. 
here i am on February 17, 2014 (nerdy work head shot):

and here i am as of this morning (april 6, 2014):

this photo makes it seem as though i will have a lovely zebra/skunk effect going on. 

this one, less so. 
i have no idea. 
it's hard to predict what "kind of grey" you have.

granted, i have a LONG way to go. . . 
and the whole project could turn into an absolute disaster. 
i may run screaming for the nearest box of Feria at some point. 
but i'm going to give it a whirl. 
i'm genuinely curious to find out what i actually look like under all that dye. 
but i thought it was important to say that i am both relieved and excited about this choice. 
and that, for me, there is a big difference between "letting myself go" and "letting it grow."
i'll keep you posted. . . 


  1. Ask Heather Shea Gasser about what happened when she made this same decision.

  2. Here's some unexpected support ('cause it's from me). 1. I'd far rather see a natural grey haired person of either sex than some of the odd colorings I've seen, especially people trying to be redheads. As a redhead (mostly former), I feel I have the right to say that it never looks right. And 2. I went through a sort of similar transition 5 years ago when I shaved my head. It's strange at first, but you get used to it and forget about it. Now I only think about it when I realize that it's been too long since I shaved (like right now). Or when I go out into the sun.
    Good luck.

  3. That comment was from me, Doug Dangler. Not sure why it didn't register my Google account.

  4. I started going grey really early as well, probably in my early BW days and highlights really help! I tried the whole dying my whole head thing but like you, a few weeks in and it needed it again. My whole family went grey very young and of my 3 Aunts, only one (the youngest) chose to keep her natural gray, she looks beautiful and I think you will too!


  5. Krystyne, I'm not sure if you remember when I died my naturally blonde hair dark brown...when I decided to go back blonde I actually went to the salon and they were able to remove the dye, it may be worth looking into!