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Ruth Neubauer Headshot

Letting My Hair Go Gray: To Dye or Not to Dye

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My haircut is OK, but tonight, I tied it back with some hair clips and saw the layers of brown and gray and lighter brown and highlights and once again, wondered how I will look when I fully inhabit my natural self and let my hair go gray.

I'm not ready and don't know when I'll be ready.

Then again, I've never known when I'd be ready in advance. There is no such knowing.

Even with plans. Which reminds me of the only joke I remember:

How do you make G'd smile?
Tell him you've got a plan.

I can see the natural beauty in my daughter's hair which, at 43, has long, strong white strands that are beginning to look elegant and real. It's me then. In my 40's. A time when I almost let it go and had more white than dark and looked great. I hear her say "I'm not ready". And that is exactly how I felt at 43 when the same strands appeared. Now, looking at her, it's easy to tell her not to dye it and reveal that I am sorry I ever did. Which is true. Hindsight.

I wrote a poem about this not so long ago.

I see the older woman now
confused.
I see her in pictures
from before.
Sea-blue eyes
near-black long full hair
alongside olive skin
her whole body
laughing.
I
see
her
beauty
quite
radiant
then.

I do not know who she is
hardly knowing who she was.

I see the older woman now.
Her colored hair belies truth.
Nature's natural beauty
trumped
by who-knows-what-makes-people-do-what-they-do.

Women's hair
a subject all its own.

Her eyes deeper set
still blue in contrast with the darkened hair
as they would be letting it go gray.
Lashes hard to find now
these eyes see differently.

I went to the hairdresser today.
And discussed
letting
my hair go gray.
(White or Silver would be nicer)
Like
giving birth,
it
could
take
9 months.

Hair grows half-an-inch a month.
We agree
I'm inching closer.