Grey is the new black

I walked out of the sanctuary, and just as I anticipated someone asked me, “So what’s going on with your head/hair?”  “What are you doing?”  I turned right around to an attractively attired sister in the Lord that I regard as my friend and said, “I’m letting my hair grow exactly as you see it”.  And in my mind, I said, there’s nothing wrong with that.  She kind of chuckled and said, “I can’t.  Just the other day my daughter told me that I needed to stop dying my hair and I told her I can’t.  I’m not ready to show my grey hairs just yet.”

Her answer is typical of many women her age today, and I’m fine with that. To each his/her own. I ain’t mad at her because I must admit that not too long ago I was thinking and saying the same thing.  I’ve been told that I look younger than my age and I wanted my hair to reflect that.  I still do but it has become increasingly challenging to keep my grey hairs in check.  I would henna them and in less than two weeks they would begin sneakily peeking out again. 

To make it worst, almost a year ago I decided to return to my natural roots, which requires a lot more care than when my hair was relaxed.  Therefore, a typical wash day, when I have to also color my roots become a mammoth task that results in my many times putting off the whole production until I can gather the gumption to spend a whole day with my hair.

The reason I anticipated someone making a comment about my hair, especially after church, is because

I’ve earned my greys
  1. It’s the one place where you will get noticed because you have to sit still for so long with the possibility of being featured in a video frame being very high
  2. I had gotten a friend to cornrow my hair the day before, therefore the different hues of my hair were very visible
  3. There is at least one person in that congregation that would feel comfortable enough with me to point out the obvious 

I am a realist and I am practical to a t.  Although the gravitational pull towards what I know to be the sensible thing to do may take a while to manifest, eventually it does manifest.  I love to look good and as pulled together as the next person, but I am also a low-maintenance kind of gal.   For me being fashionable and trendy cannot trump sensible and comfortable.  So, it may be the fashionable thing to dye your hair because you appear to look better with black hair, but what about the cost in time and money to do that every two weeks?

In my case, ‘I’ve given up the ghost’ at this time in my life because I know I’ll be fighting a losing battle if I continue.  I began going grey in my 30’s and it was not a slow progression like it is for some people.  Also, I started to grey at the front of my head while some people either go ‘salt and pepper’ (which is beautiful to me) or they have a patch.  I would have loved a patch because its funky looking.

Some persons have said that you go grey because you’ve had stress in your life.  Others say that it has to do with your nutrition and even proport that it can be reversed by changing the diet.  For me, I’ve gone grey because its hereditary.  I saw my paternal grandmother when she was in her 50s and her thick, long plaits were a beautiful shade of salt and pepper.  I also saw my dad, whom I resemble very much, began to go grey around the same age. Over the years I witnessed his beard eventually growing all white like that of Santa Clause and it too was, at the time, beautiful.

I believe as we get to a certain stage in life, that we need to make peace with the things that we cannot change.  That is what I’ve done.  I have been doing some growing for the past couple of years and greying hair has been one of the latest ‘happenings’ that I have decided to embrace.  A lot of times we do things because of what we think others will feel, think or even say.  For me, the time for that frame of mind has expired.  I will do what is right and pleasing to me.  If God is happy with me, then I am happy with me.

In our culture, most women I know, even well into their 60s and 70s, and at a time when it should be an honour to flaunt their grey hairs, still color their roots.  Many like me feel that grey hair ‘pulls their face down”.  Others, like me again, look younger than their age and they prefer to keep everyone guessing.  Even among ourselves as women we make comments that would seem to discourage the appearance of growing older because to us it is unattractive.

On the other hand, men are called distinguished when they begin to grey.  They are regarded as silver foxes and younger women are drawn to them especially if they are also taking care of themselves.  But why the disparity in the way that the sexes are perceived as it pertains to greying hair?  Is it all in our heads?  Why aren’t we embracing what is naturally happening as part of our journey?  And let’s not even talk about who is benefiting from our need to appear younger than we are.

As always, let us go to the one place that has an answer for any and every question we may have.  In Psalm 139:14 where David spoke about God knowing us before we were born, here is what he also said, 

“…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  I receive that.

And the kicker is found in Proverbs 20:29, 

“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head” and Proverbs 16:31, “The hoary (grey or white with or as if with age) head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” Amen to that.

Isn’t that something?  I rest my case.

So, I will speak to us ladies because we seem to be the ones who struggle most with growing grey.  If the Creator of the Universe and the One who also created us values our grey/hoary hair/head, why are we allowing ourselves to be pressured by society, friends and loved ones to despise it?  Why are we succumbing to a culture that drives us to dishonour what He obviously honours?

Listen to what He is saying to us.

Vroom Vroom. Ready or not, here I come

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4).  Whoah!! I’ll take that any day.

Well my sister friend, if you haven’t gotten to the point where you can accept the inevitable, I do have some very good henna that I’m willing to part with.  Drop me a line and they are yours.  As for me, this is what I have to say. 

 “World, here I come with my hoary, crowning glory.”  


About a month ago I had a dream.  I was at this function and there was someone on the platform getting ready to share.  I was busy talking with the person sitting next to me, when I realised that the individual that was going to share was bending down close to me.  They got my attention and whispered in my ear, ‘You are peculiar’.  Other things were said to qualify that statement, but that is all I remember.  I awoke out of sleep feeling really affected by the dream and the statement.  It has stuck with me until today.  What’s more interesting is that I believe it.  I am Peculiar.

As a child and teenager, I was called proud.  As an adult I’ve been called anti-social.  All by people who did not know enough about me to make those statements.  Some even grew up with me but didn’t appreciate our differences enough to accept who I was.  But every life has a backstory.   And before we go placing labels on others, if it’s so important to label, we should find out why someone might be the way that they are.  

Just love this pic and they are hating me right now.

Additionally, we should not let the opinions of another person colour our opinion of someone we do not know.  I have always operated by the Modus Operandi, “I hear what you say about that person, but I will get to know them based on their own merit” – if it becomes necessary to create a relationship with them.  Just maybe, I may come away with a different perspective than you did.  

So back to me being peculiar.  When I got over the emotional impact of the dream, I settled down and agreed that I am peculiar, in more ways than one.  As a teenager I can remember not wanting to be or look like anyone else.  It went as far as my fashion sense.  I would wear two socks of different colours because it expressed how I felt at that moment.  And I didn’t care what anyone else thought of or felt about it. 

I also remember my mom buying a dress for my valedictory service.  It was a beautiful white dress made of a floral-patterned material.   To add some pizzazz to it, my mom sew beads to the bodice.  If by chance anyone else came with the same dress, it wouldn’t actually be the same because she had altered it just for me.  So my mom as well contributed to my propensity to be different.

Today, even though wearing our hair natural has become a trend, I know it’s something I struggled with for years.  The struggle was not with myself, but the people around me who didn’t particularly like the look of natural hair.  I wanted to appear attractive to them, so I went along with their desires for ‘my hair’.

Not long ago at my 50th birthday party, my sister/friend created a crossword puzzle as one of the fun activities for the attendees to do.  One of the clues alluded to the way I prefer to wear my hair.  And the answer was of course, ‘natural’.  I smiled because up until then, although I had not pushed the envelope as hard as I should have about my preference, it was the truth.  That moment planted an indelible seed of discontent and determination about the change I was going to make.

Fifty, fabulous and woke..for the most part. lol

As a matter of fact, what my friends and family didn’t know is that in that moment of what they thought was a fun activity, I had already begun the transition to my natural ‘creps’, which by the way are beautiful.  The question in the game was only confirmation that I was on the right path.  After all, being in my 50’s means that by now I should know what I want and not be afraid to express it, right?  It’s a moment of do or die.   I’m already on the other side of my ‘three-score and ten and by reason of health, four-score days’ allotment of life.  So might as well get on with living a life that I’m happy to live.  Don’t you agree?

Recently I was looking at some pictures, and I found one taken as far back as 2013, which was the first time I did the big chop and decided to wear my hair natural. The old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ comes to mind, as this would be the third time that I’m attempting to go back to my natural roots, and by George (sorry brother) this time I’m sticking with it.

I don’t mind being peculiar.  It means that I am one who swims against the current.  It means I don’t especially care what people think about me.  It means that I may not have a large entourage because people generally like to go with the flow.  It also means that I prefer to walk the narrow road that leads to a narrow gate that many don’t know eventually opens into a large field.  A field of freedom with room to grow and space to soar.  And I’m all for that.

As a matter of fact, we who are believers are called peculiar in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Praise the Lord!

Peculiar in the Merriam-Webster dictionary means different from the usual or normal.  Other words associated with someone or something being peculiar are special, particular, odd, curious, eccentric, unusual, crazy, quirky, weird, to name a few.  It means that you are not normal by the standards of the person or criteria describing you. 

For me it also means that I’m not common, and that my friend is how I would like to classify myself.  I may appear quirky or eccentric to you, but I am cherished and special to the One who loves me most.  His thoughts are all I care about.  As a matter of fact, He is responsible for who I am today, therefore my only concern is that He is daily pleased with who I am becoming.

Me being me in 2020

Peculiar begets peculiar.  Who wants to join me in standing out?