Because I’m Worth It, By Amanda Trigg

Trigg (2) - 2012It first appeared in middle school, a single, almost unnoticeable grey hair at my hairline, immediately over my right eye.  It seemed harmless, almost quirky and cute.   In the following decade, a legion of other grey hairs joined this one.  Being enamored of all lotions and potions, I seized the opportunity to start coloring my hair to hide the grey.   I enjoyed changing my hair color to various shades of brown, auburn, red and once, accidentally, violet.  I used home products and frequented the salon as well.  My collection of specialized shampoos, conditioners, mousses, gels and sprays for color-treated hair took over my bathroom cabinet.  As the commercials repeatedly told me, I was “worth it.” During pregnancy, I eschewed hair color based upon the prevailing belief that it could be harmful.   At the end of my pregnancy, my hair was mostly silver with a few inches of trailing brown hair.  One day, when I was in Court representing a client seeking custody of his daughter, a Judge interrupted proceedings to sincerely ask me where I got my hair so beautifully highlighted.  In retrospect, I should have taken the hint, that there was beauty to be had, but instead, promptly after the birth of my son, I raced to erase the grey again.   Societal norms told me that that a thirty-something woman should not have grey hair but instead, should be a blonde, a brunette or a red head.   I thoughtlessly aimed to follow that norm. Then, on the eve of a business trip in 2010, panic seized me.  My grey roots were showing and I could not imagine appearing among my colleagues in such an unkempt state.   Without any regard for other tasks that needed to be finished before my departure, I rushed to deal with my hair.  When the panic had cleared, the absurdity of my behavior sunk in.   The absurdity came not from my latest decision to prioritize a cosmetic procedure but rather, from the time, aggravation and funds that had been dedicated to my hair for so many years.   At the age of 40, with grey hair firmly rooted on my head, I was fighting a battle that I could not win.  No amount of hair color or money or time was going to restore my natural color from grey to brown. Some people define insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and hoping for a different result.  My hair stylist likely thought I was insane when I marched into the salon and instructed him to crop my shoulder-length hair close to my head, leaving just a cap of curls.  My logic was that it would be easier to grow out the dyed hair if there was less of it.   The stylist objected and tried to talk me out of it, claiming that grey hair would “age” me and that I might not like the texture of untreated tresses.  I refused to be dissuaded and he, of course, gave in. Over the following six months, the grey grew in and acquaintances offered back handed compliments about how my hair looked good to them, but they could never let their own natural color grow in.   My own mother was (and remains) horrified by my resolution to accept this physical characteristic of mine that most other people constantly fight to hide.   My pride in my decision kept pace with the growth of my hair.  After years of being a slave to hair color, I felt liberated and confident in my decision to embrace this natural and genuine physical characteristic of mine.   Now, two and one half years later, my real hair color is a curly mess of dark brown, grey, silver and white.   Instead of a cabinet full of products for color treated hair, I have a stash of products for silver curls. Instead of resentful hours at the salon, I enjoy positive reinforcement from strangers who openly admire my hair color and, I like to believe, admire the woman who flaunts it.

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