I’m way overdue on updating you guys on my Hair Tales adventure (because I know you’ve been impatiently waiting – ha!).
Honestly, though, that story I posted in January about starting my journey to gray (read it here) got the most pageviews out of any story I’ve posted on Old Mission Gazette. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Apparently, going gray is a hot topic out there.
It’s been nearly seven months since I posted that first story, and it seems like a whole lifetime ago. In many ways, it is.
In that January story, I wrote about how I’d grown up with red hair and how it was such a big part of my identity. And yet, really, by keeping my hair red, what was I holding onto? My youth? My identity? Was I even still that same person?
Turns out, I wasn’t. By allowing my hair to transition to its natural color (which isn’t so much gray as it is “calico”), I was giving myself permission to be the person I am now – not the person I was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. You don’t realize how important that is until you actually do it.
But let’s back up a little. At that all-important January hair appointment – the beginning of it all – I talked with my wonderful stylist, Kelly Watrous at Salon Verve in Traverse City, about the gray transition, and we put together a plan. First, she’d strip as much of the red out of it as possible, then we would slowly transition to my natural color by doing a few sessions of highlights and lowlights to blend the old color in with the new growth.
She also cut my hair to shoulder-length. I’d planned on keeping it that length throughout the journey, but after two or three sessions of the highlight/lowlight process, I decided to chop it all off into a pixie in May – and I’m totally in love with this length. Now, not only do I not have to worry about the gray roots, but I also don’t have to spend much time on it at all.
All I do is shampoo and condition (I use O&M Conquer Blonde Silver Masque for both, which helps to keep it more white than blonde), towel-dry, work a couple drops of Argan Oil into it, then work in a little texturizer to give it some, well, texture.
Here’s a little collage of hair selfies from January through July, 2018. The first, on the left, was taken on Jan. 2, the day of my first hair appointment. I’d not colored my hair for about a month, so that Kelly could see what we’d be dealing with as far as the new growth. Thus, the demarcation line in my part. The last picture, on the right, is my latest pixie haircut from a couple days ago.
Can’t you just see the emotional transformation along the way? In January, I looked old and tired. With each haircut and journey to natural, I was looking happier and happier. And by the time July came along, it’s like I’d finally found my true self.
I have zero regrets about the transition and wish I’d done it sooner. It’s all so freeing and empowering. In fact, I experienced a bit of a personality change when I did the big chop. It’s hard to explain the psychology of it, but honestly, chopping my hair into a pixie gave me an attitude of – for lack of a better term – baddassery.
When I came out of Salon Verve after getting the chop, I immediately wanted to get a tattoo and a Harley. I’m like, bring it, world! I haven’t gotten either yet, but anything could happen!
A few other changes:
1. I stand up for myself, my friends and my family. Sure, I’ll always have my Midwestern politeness (don’t worry, Mom), but I’m no longer the meek person I once was, and I will no longer stand by and watch someone be a jerk towards me or the people I love. Rest assured, if you’re being stupid towards me or my friends and family, you’re about to get your rear handed to you, and I’ll have fun doing it.
2. I have newfound confidence. When you’re self-employed, you have to have some level of confidence just to get up every day. But that got ramped up big-time with the chop. For example, when our Jeep broke down in May for the umpteenth time, I went out and bought a car – something the old me never would have done (As it turns out, I bought the car, the day after my chop).
Even though my credit score is downright pathetic (thanks to medical bills, months at U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor, new furnace last winter, new computer last fall, yada yada), I went into Serra Subaru to see if they could do anything for me. Turns out they could, and I bought myself a 2010 Subaru Forester – all on my own! (Though before I signed on the dotted line, I did drive out and have Tim take it for a drive, to make sure there was nothing horribly wrong with it. For the record, he wasn’t onboard with the idea at first, but I think he’s come around, especially when I negotiated a warranty and some other things into the deal.)
Here I am with my awesome Serra sales guy, Jeff Somes.
3. I not only go out of my comfort zone, I practically live there. There are tons of examples of this since chopping the hair off in May (forthcoming in other stories), but one of the biggest happened at my 40th class reunion last week. I was assigned to take pictures, and about an hour into the reunion, I had a lightbulb moment about getting a group photo. Yes, we managed to herd all 200+ of us to one side of the room. Here’s the proof:
4. I wear sleeveless tops. This might not seem like such a big deal, but I’ve always been reluctant to show my Amazon farmgirl arms. Now I just don’t care. In fact, I even wore one to my class reunion (that’s me in the middle of the front row above). So there. And I can also heft a bail of hay onto a truck.
5. I wear earrings again. I went years without wearing them – partly because you couldn’t see them with my longer hair, but also because I just lost interest in wearing them. So I dug out all my cool hippie earrings and have been wearing them again. Also got some cool shades from Costco that make me feel like a million bucks (see photo on the right in collage above).
This whole hair journey has me pondering WHY we color our hair. I mean, who makes up these dumb rules anyway? Why are we not allowed to be who we are as we get older? And isn’t getting older the objective here? Shouldn’t we be proud of getting older every day? Why must we try and look younger?
And speaking of which, in case I WAS worried about looking older (I’m not), people say my new hair actually makes me look younger. Who would have thought?!
I guess this is all to say that if you’re sick of coloring your hair and are ready to make the switch, you just go right ahead and do it. I will cheer you on and hold your hand. Don’t worry about what other people think. In fact, don’t worry about anything. Just be you.
And if you need a great stylist who will help you work through the process, both in styling and emotionally, call Kelly Watrous at Salon Verve, (231) 932-8378, and follow her on Facebook here, where she posts great photos of her lovely cuts and styles.
She will go on that journey with you. Thank you, Kelly, for helping me be me.