Monday, October 05, 2009

Gray in several ways

It’s the right sort of weather to be melancholy, and I am. I am definitely at low tide. You can go pick up the dead fish and seashells, if you like. This morning I finally filled out a questionnaire I’ve been putting off. As part of my reconstructive surgery I have a silicone implant, which the manufacturer is following quite closely to make sure no one gets sick. Of course, this reminds me that I have an implant. Not that it’s all that easy to forget, but I definitely play an evasive game with it. Of course I’m grateful for the vast strides in plastic surgery and would much rather this than say, being dead, but I have my moments when I feel a bit sorry for myself. Or maybe it’s just the residue of the experience. When I visited my brother in the hospital recently, I was uncomfortably reminded of my many visits – the circular drive in front of the main entrance, the color of the carpet and walls, the smell of the soap. . Actually, I get a little quaky just thinking about it now. Dear Husband would say that I never really dealt with it. That could be right, or maybe I just never knew what it would mean to deal with it. I was pretty fraggin happy that I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation at the same time that I was astounded that you could need a mastectomy for grade 0 cancer and someone with a grade 2 could get away with a lumpectomy. I had no lump – just widespread tissue change. On the scale of catastrophe, I thought it was pretty small. Even on the scale of familial catastrophe it seems small next to Firecracker’s preterm birth, her Tuberous Sclerosis, her brain surgery and Dear Husband’s chronic illness. Yes, a walk in the park compared to Firecracker having her skull sawed off, electrodes stuck in her brain and her skull stuck back on temporarily with wires snaking out for a week of videotaping and testing only to find out that it was a big friggin waste of time. I wish I hadn’t thought of that.

I’m also looking at my gray hair. I feel ambivalent about it. Is it really so dowdy as people seem to think. It looks sort of pretty to me. I’m ticked off that the world and pretty much everyone I know covers their gray. Dear Husband is definitely in favor of hair dye, which I usually do. I often feel like I would just like to be gray, dammit. Let it be. But then part of me is holding on to youth, because I still feel as gauche and unformed as a 20 year old. There’s a woman at my church who has beautiful silver hair. She also has an impeccable figure and good bones. She makes gray hair look like something you could flaunt saucily. I don’t have sauce, unfortunately.

I googled “going gray gracefully.” Gracefully means that you have your hairstylist do lowlights and highlights and generally fuss about so that your gray grows in prettily. In the past 10 years I’ve had my hair dyed professionally perhaps twice. Not a big fan of dropping $100 at a salon. Dear Husband thinks I lack some female gene because I don’t labor over makeup and my hair and nails. Seriously, screw it. The only time I was interested in such stuff I wore black nail polish, blue lipstick and dyed my hair pink. THAT’S fun. Manicures, eyebrow waxing – give me the money and I’ll go buy a book, thank you very much.

Well, this all reminds me that I need to get my anti-depressant refilled, play with my kids more and give Dear Husband more kisses.


  1. Because I wear my hair short I easily go back and forth between gray and colored hair. At the moment is it auburn. But a few days ago it was gray with low-lights.

    I've always enjoyed playing around with how I look, like trying on different people....or in my case, going incognito....cuz I'm really tired of all the old people who live in this town. That's my rant for the day and why I colored my hair.

    I a month or so I'll probably cut it off and go gray again.

  2. Since my 40th high school reunion, I've let my hair go gray. I've been mostly happy with it, though it's whiter in the front than the back.

    I've never been one for much make-up, probably from hitting adolescence in the 1960's. But with the white hair, I've also had half of my eyebrows disappear (go white) and have less eyelashes--so I fix those up and also find that I need lipstick because my lips have become anemic.

    You're probably not as old as I am and don't have such problems. Just wanted you to know that I understand.

  3. I have a streak of grey running down one side of my hair - the hairdresser assures me that many would pay good money for this look, but then she would say that. Niece #2 trying to cheer me up (it didn't work) last week commented 'Never mind Aunty Taitty, there's life in the old dog yet.

  4. A friend of mine who's my age fully embraces her gray hair.

    'Scuse me, it's not gray, it's SILVER.

  5. I'm just lazy and get tired of trying to find the right color. When I was younger I didn't care - bleach it, dye it blue-black, dye it bright red. Now I have to look presentable.

  6. Yes, silver. Like you, I have never enjoyed fussing with hair, nails, lipstick. When I was still working (for money, now I volunteer) I put on the face paint every morning before leaving the house. After retirement, I stopped, a declaration of who I prefer to be.

    Go silver. At my own 40th high school reunion I looked around the room at the female contingent. All of us are the save age; half were silver and half were dyed various colors. The silver looked just as good and just as young to my eye as those who were dyed, especially if they didn't get the replacement color just right.

    I had breast cancer in 1975 (lumpectomy and radiation), a dangerous time as I was pre-menopausal. People do survive.

  7. The cost of the salon visit itself would make me want to stay gray, too. :) My Mom is 75 and hasn't gone grey yet--I'm hoping those good genes will be passed on to me. :)

    Also, I LOVED your line "The only time I was interested in such stuff I wore black nail polish, blue lipstick and dyed my hair pink. THAT’S fun." Ha ha! I really love that. You're right--what fun is it to wear makeup and dye your hair if you can't be creative & unique with it? :) That being said, I wear makeup every day. Without it I have really red cheeks that my husband jokingly refers to as "gin blossoms." :)

  8. I'm only twenty-two, so no grays yet. And no dying-of-the-hair, either.