God help me, I can’t believe I’m actually posting this, but…..no turning back now!
I’ve gotta be honest, I’m totally petrified about putting this blog out there.
If I say what I’m about to embark on tomorrow, then I’m accountable and it’s going to be very real, very confronting and I can’t take it back!
You see, I’ve been toying with this idea for about 12 months now and I’ve decided to bite the bullet and follow where my heart and head are leading me. I’ve never let a little fear stop me from doing things in the past and at North of 45, I’m not about to let it stop me now!
So here it is – in keeping with my current path towards finding my true north, I’m about to embark on a journey to ‘find the REAL, authentic me’ – down to the last hair on my head!
Let me explain…
My name is Danielle and I am addicted to colouring my hair.
In fact, I don’t even know what the real colour of my hair is.
This was my natural hair in Primary School...
I WISH it was still this colour!
Since my late teens I have been religiously changing and experimenting with my hair styles and colours.
During the past 30 years I have been every shade of red you can imagine (in fact I’m pretty sure 15 years ago, my then-to-be husband, thought he was making out with a cute little Ranga!), blonde for a very short period (definitely not a success), and most shades of brunette.
Here’s a snapshot of the various shades and styles I’ve played with over the past 30 years! As you can see, I am NOT afraid to experiment.
Since my late 30’s I have settled comfortably into being a brunette and have taken myself off every 5-6 weeks to my hairdresser to freshen the shade and cover the ever-increasing strands of silver that have started to peak through at my temples and along the dreaded root-line.
For me, colouring and playing with my hair length and colour has allowed me to adopt different personalities and characters over the years; a fiery red head, a playful blonde, a sultry brunette. But all of them were essentially that – characters….what did the REAL me look like??
Lately this little seed of an idea to ‘rediscover’, or actually just DISCOVER the real me (the one with her OWN hair colour) has been growing and evolving and I’m now at a point where I’m ready to let it grows roots and develop.
Ha ha did you see what I did there?
As in grey?
As in grow my grey roots?!?!
As in STOP COLOURING MY HAIR!
Yes, ok I may be a little hysterical about this plan.
Cut me some slack this is big!
Why the need to follow this path?
Let me digress firstly as I want to put this issue on the table...
I’ve encountered a number of women in my time who have mused that their husband likes their hair long/blonde/straight/etc, and "he wouldn’t LET me change it".
Do I have an issue with statements like this! Who the hell, husband included, gets to dictate how or why you wear your hair??? What CENTURY are we living in here? In my opinion if your attractiveness to your partner is based on your hairstyle, there are some more pressing issues to deal with!
Yes, yes, of course I want my husband to be attracted to me, but luckily I have a white knight who seems to keep loving and supporting me no matter what hair-brained (BOOM BOOM) idea I happen to dream up!
(thank you darling, you really are amazing, and of course I love every GREY hair on your head!)
So, why have I decided to follow this path which I’m sure will involve many tears, frustrations, judgements, WTF moments and general feelings of What Have I Committed To?!?
Well, a few reasons really:
As I head further #northof45 I’m becoming more aware and conscious of the chemicals that we apply, ingest and surround ourselves with on a daily basis. From the pesticides on fruit and vegetables, to the preservatives in the packaged food, to the toxins in household cleaning products and chemicals in our skin care products….we are bombarding our bodies and lungs with chemicals and toxins on a daily basis. And it worries me deeply that we are still not fully educated on the long term effects that this exposure has on our health. How much of what we DO and PUT IN and ON to our bodies is effecting our rapidly increasing rate of lifestyle disease? We don’t know the answers yet, but I do believe that if I can remove some of these chemicals from my life that it will be beneficial to my long term health.
The cost and time involved. I certainly don’t spend a lot of money on my hair by other women’s standards, nor do I have to spend half a day each visit. I’ve only ever used full tints to colour my hair and thus have avoided the expense of highlights and the hours spent getting them. But, for me, the thought of spending the next 20 plus years paying for more and more frequent touch ups in an attempt to keep covering the increasing silver strands is just too much for me to accept. I’ve got to tell you that the idea of getting to the other side of this and NOT paying for regular colouring is kind of exciting.
I’m not a raving feminist by any means BUT it does definitely bother me that a man, at ANY age, with a healthy head of salt and pepper hair or silver strands is considered sexy. Words like Silver Fox, distinguished and handsome are applied to the gentleman who has simply let his crown continue to mature as nature intended. In direct contrast, a woman who attempts the same is viewed as tired, old, unattractive, less feminine, middle-aged, frumpy, invisible….there are many more disappointing and upsetting clichés, but I won’t go on, you get the idea. The inequality of the sexes in this respect is a huge source of frustration for me. But I believe that the more North of 45ers who are willing to embrace this trend, the more acceptable it will become. I can only hope!
I really want to challenge the accepted norm that ‘to not colour’ your hair means that you have simply given up on yourself and have no pride. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a healthy dose of vanity and pride and care very much about my appearance and how I present myself to the world. I am not taking this journey lightly as I know it’s going to really challenge my self-esteem and confidence throughout the different stages of transition. But I am committed to seeing it through and hopefully come out the other side with a greater level of self-acceptance while freeing myself from society's stereotypical view on what a beautiful and confident woman is, or isn't.
I know that people who don’t know me will view and judge me as unkempt, lazy or uninterested in my appearance and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. But my absolute hope is that in going through this process I will learn to accept myself at an even deeper level. I want to prove to myself that women can still be attractive, or beautiful even if they choose not to conform to society’s traditional beauty standards. I want to contribute to the movement that is encouraging women of ALL ages to embrace greying hair as a natural and beautiful part of life that can be enjoyed rather than shunned.
I read this today:
“Colouring greys is just one of the forms of extra beauty labour older women are pressured to do to remain “seen” and, in society’s narrow eyes, be considered attractive”
I say BULLSHIT to this!
Why can’t we still be attractive if we choose to embrace our natural state? I’m not going to stop washing myself, or working out, or putting make up on, or dressing to flatter my figure. Why the hell should I suddenly become invisible, unattractive or irrelevant because my hair is grey instead of brown?
Ok, so about now you may be thinking I’m crazy and that’s ok….this is my journey, not yours.
While I’m just about to pee myself every time I think about what I’m embarking on and how long it will take, there is a large part of me that is excited and looking forward to reconnecting with the ‘real Danielle’.
I’ve enlisted the services of the gorgeous team of Dani (in the photo with me below) and Sandy at OMG! Hair Bar in Broadbeach to hold my hand throughout the whole process. They have been caring for my locks for a few years now and I trust them completely to help me keep the transition as smooth as possible and my hair looking as good as possible for as long as it takes to grow all of the existing colour out.
Dani has warned me that there is a good chance that I might actually HATE my natural hair colour – and I am very much prepared for this. While I envisage a flowing mane of silver strands glittering in the sunlight, the reality is probably more likely to be a dirty, muddy brown/grey with a few silver strands scattered throughout.
But it will be the REAL me and my journey is about learning to love and accept myself for who I am, ALL of me, not just the good parts!
I have thought about what I would do if I truly do hate it in the end and the answer really is as simple as – dying it back!
So day one is tomorrow…..in the morning I have my appointment with Dani to put in some fine foils all over my head to break up the dark base that I currently have.
If you are interested in following my journey to #goinggreygracefully make sure you follow me on Instagram (@bodyworkspt_aus) where I will post regular updates on how it looks, how I feel about it, and each step along the journey.
Wish me luck and please do me a favour.....if you do happen to see a woman in the street with a glorious head of grey, don't judge, assume or condemn....it's HER hair, it's HER journey!
"My defining moment was realizing that chasing after youth was a losing battle, but aging gracefully and beautifully was one that I could win."
Here's to being irresistible!