I was buying plants at my local nursery—dressed in sweaty yoga clothes and eager to get my latest haul into the ground—when I caught the man in line behind me staring at my hair. My messy, silver hair.
“Your hair is beautiful,” he said. I turned crimson, then thanked him.
I am seriously vain about my hair. Twenty years ago, I found the hairdresser of my dreams, who kept my medium-length shag just rocker-edgy enough for me to avoid sliding into middle-age frump. (My personal nightmare: The image of a 50-something me with a neat bob and wearing elastic pants.)
Ten years ago, when my gray starting coming in unapologetically, my stylist began dyeing my hair a lovely, dark chestnut with coppery highlights that showed off my layers. At first, I dyed my hair every four months. Then every two months. Then every month. Then every two weeks: That became the deal breaker.
My scalp itched. I popped antihistamines and kept my personal pain private, continuing to color my hair until one day I literally could not drag myself to the hairdresser even one more time. My inner rebel roared to life and made an executive decision. I was done with dye.
I started to let my hair grow out, pulling it down into bangs. I rediscovered my love for hats. I artfully hid my gray for three months, until there was no denying it anymore.
So, I didn’t.
A few months in, I realized my hair wasn’t just gray. It was silver-white in the front with silver-and-dark streaks in the back. And it looked, well, awesome. I had expected to simply make peace with my gray hair. But the more my hair grew out, the more I fell in love with it. I felt a little subversive and downright sexy—whether men at the plant shop were checking me out or not.
As I’ve fully embraced my gray, I now feel the kind of freedom I’ve long felt on my yoga mat. Freedom not only in my body, but also in my mind and spirit. Freedom to be who I am, with complete faith that that’s enough.