I saw my first white hair on my 18th birthday.
I had always been happy with my natural hair color, I was never into experimenting with it. In fact, I used to always say that the hair color we are born with is the one that suits us best. That was until I was attending a wedding once and a friend of my parents decided to lecture me on my white hairs. I was engaged, and she was telling me that I should be dyeing my hair, or else my fiancé will not find me attractive. I told her that this is who I am, he should accept me the way I am. “Don’t be stupid,” she said.
I’m not sure what affected my confidence, because a year later, before my wedding, I found myself sitting in a hair-dresser’s chair discussing highlights. Since then, it was a never-ending spiral of expensive monthly salon visits and botched hair dyes – until I decided I wanted to see my real hair color again.
It took me ages to really understand that there is no hair-dye shade available that would perfectly match my real color. By then, I was done with hair dressers and dyeing my hair every 3 weeks at home, just to cover the greys that would pop out again literally within a week of coloring it. It was a never-ending vicious cycle of white hair and demarcation lines that made me feel imprisoned. I was not happy, I longed to be free of it. I flirted with the idea of ‘letting myself go’ and growing out my grey hair. I would discuss it with myself, in my head, then with my husband out loud. He was supportive, and he promised to tell me if it looks bad and I can just dye my hair again, no big deal. I tried to embrace the idea of silver hair, but I did not have the guts to do it – I always chickened out and dyed my hair in the end, and my husband always teased me about being insecure and not following through with doing it.
I am my own person, and societal norms cannot dictate my hair color, or anything else for that matter.
The last time I dyed my hair, I woke up pleading the Universe for a sign not to. We were going to Lebanon for the summer and if I wanted to dye it again, that was my only day to do it. I did not receive any sign, and I resigned myself to the process of coloring. Then I went to the mall to pick up some last minute things and I saw a beautiful bob of silver-speckled dark hair, belonging to a seemingly young and definitely very stylish woman. She was my sign, albeit an hour or two too late. I was over the moon, and I knew then and there that this is what I wanted. It dawned on me, and I just KNEW that going grey did not mean I was letting myself go, that I was getting old, and that I will be unattractive.
Because white hair is associated with aging, dyeing has been normalized by society – but in my eyes, there is nothing normal about seeing the same shade of caramel-bleached hair on every other woman. Aging is a privilege that I intend to embrace, and in the end, silver hair is just another hair color. I am my own person, and societal norms cannot dictate my hair color, or anything else for that matter.