going gray: the afterlife
I am so excited to be announcing today’s article which is written by Diana Jewell, founder and editor of Going Gray, Looking Great! Her site has been a godsend to me and many of you who are transitioning. Today Diana and I are “trading places” for the day so check out my post on What to Wear When Your Hair’s Gray on her site!
Okay, so you’ve gone gray. You’ve somehow gotten through the mystery of transitioning, you may have a shorter new do, you’ve handled all the slings and arrows sent your way by friends and family, and as you sit there, staring at your new “face” in the mirror, two words come to mind: Now what?
Some women have likened going gray to a nine-month pregnancy. You’re busy germinating a new self. It’s exciting. There’s no doubt you feel a sense of wonder as you’re going through it – “I wonder if I’m going to like it?” “I wonder how gray/silver/charcoal it will be?” “I wonder if it will age me?” And you’ve undoubtedly been the center of attention, whether you’ve liked that or not. Well, now you’ve delivered. Any chance of post partum depression? Any chance you might feel like you’ve lost your “old” self?
I can happily report, not one woman I’ve interviewed, talked to, or heard from feels this way. To the contrary, they’re positively energized and excited. They like the natural “glow” they’ve gotten, they feel more committed than ever to making other changes, and they’ve discovered a whole new level of confidence they never knew they had. For many, it’s a life-changing experience. And it has nothing to do with the color of their hair.
Hundreds of women write in about this phenomenon to www.goinggraylookinggreat.com. Some of them are still transitioning, others have made it through. They all share this same, incredible verve.
That feeling never really passes, but it’s soon overtaken by another discovery – gray never stays the same way. Unlike dyed color, it is constantly evolving. Some days it looks whiter, some days more silvery. The funny thing is, we all used to want our hair to be a “certain” color. We paid big bucks for that – never let them see you change, or horrors, someone will guess that’s not your natural shade. Now we celebrate the evolution! Oh look, my hair looks whiter in this light. And, because it’s natural, we never fear that people won’t think it’s our “real” shade. Look ma, no roots!
Since we are a work in progress, we have fun continually experimenting with new makeup colors, new wardrobe colors. We get out of our ruts. We play, we experiment. As one visitor to the site wrote in, “I feel like a kid in a cosmetics candy store.” Now, whooo-hooo — whole new colors have opened up to us. The desire to try new things, new cuts, new products, new accessories, new everything is re-awakened.
So, yes, there’s a great afterlife to going gray. Or as most women put it now – going natural. Going back to being ourselves. Going back to seeing that maybe Mother Nature was right. It’s up to us to discover how to look sexy, dazzling, chic, or professional all over again. And we do it with great abandon – reinventing ourselves, day by day. It’s fun.
With apologies to Andie MacDowell, the women who feel coloring their hair proves they’re “worth it” will never experience the great “afterlife” of gray. The energy, the confidence, the giddy excitement that comes from re-discovering yourself. And that’s ok, too. Nobody has to be gray. But when you want to, when you’re ready, look out! It’ll rock your world.