At first there was just one and I could see it only if the light caught its reflection at just the right angle. The appearance of the first was followed by a second and a third. I’m not sure why we call them grey — they’re actually anything but grey. In my eyes, they’re silver and shiny and more luminous than all the other strands of hair.
I had a dream about these silver strands many moons ago before the first one appeared. I was living in the jungle, near the ocean, and dreamt one balmy night that I had a crown of silver hair. In the dream I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before.
There are only a few now but I see more and more by the day. At first this came as a surprise, even a bit of a shock…it’s as though I thought that I alone would be spared the aging process. After my surprise, came a feeling of slight worry and various thoughts about my mortality and how temporary this form really is.
I wondered briefly if I should start dying my hair. I even told my hair dresser last time I was in her chair that I didn’t want to look ‘half old.’ I realized that dying my hair would mean loosing all of the brown at once. The creator, the most masterful artist, gifted this unique brown to me. My brown gets darker in the winter and lighter and redder in the summer. No — there’s no way I would dye my hair for that reason (and others that are too numerous to list here).
I found myself wondering if men would still find me attractive if I were to go visibly grey. I actually find men look extra sexy with grey hair and a few wrinkles but I’m not sure women can pull this off in the same way. As much as I avoid the mainstream media, I still notice traces of its delusional youth worshipping in my thinking sometimes. Truth is, I would never want to go back to my twenties — sure you have a tight body and the glow of youth, but I never did feel as at home in my womanliness then as I do now. The ripening that I see in myself and in my women friends is what I think true beauty is all about. There is a wiser and richer beauty that only life experience and being comfortable in your own skin can bring.
Contrary to the ‘youth brainwashing’ the media bombards us with, I don’t want to stay young forever. I want this human life — all of it. I want to experience the profound gift of a whole human lifespan, grey hairs and all. I want to know what it’s like to grow old with someone and to see a beauty in them that transcends this flesh and bone. I want to know what it feels like to hold my grandchildren in my arms and to tell them stories of days gone by. I want to see my friends birth their babies, make their art, and fulfill their destinies. I want to have a garden and grow perennials that greet me in the spring like old friends year after year. There can be sweetness in accepting times’ passage.
I won’t be dying my hair. Not now anyway. I want to savor this slow appearance of silver amidst my strands. They are a symbol of how far I’ve come, of what I’ve lived through. They are a celebration that I’m still here. And like scars — seen in the right light and by the right eyes — they are irreplaceable beauty marks and a symbol of a real and intricate human journey…mine. Truth is — these silver strands are a privilege, a wild and radiant sign of what has past and a marker of what has yet to come. They are the seeds of a grandmother.
© 2014 Marie-Eve Bonneau