Grace Davis recently posted a great post (with a really interesting comment thread) about women and gray hair over at BlogHer: That Touch of Gray (it Kinda Suits You Anyway). So I thought it was a good time for some new pics. It's been like 17 weeks since it was dyed last. I'm purposely taking pictures of where my shock of gray hair grows in, obviously.
Those gray hairs are squirrelly! Next time I get my hair cut, I'm going to get a conditioning treatment and see if that smooths them out a bit - plus once they get longer (and my hair falls out less because I'm not dying it, which is already happening), that will help.
This next one is from when my hair's wet, and I comb it all forward to blow it dry.
Yes, it's definitely a different color, and it's definitely noticeable at this point. Which is really scary, I'm not going to lie. My biggest worries are that it makes me look older than I am and that it effects how people perceive and treat me. I also worry about being judged for being ungroomed, like I don't know how to take care of myself. To date, I haven't received any comments on it, but I do perceive that it's been noticed.
I've been thinking a lot about how I feel about my gray hair outside of societal considerations. Which is that it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, it's always rather fascinated me, and I actually rather like it. It's shiny, and I always think of it as "nature's natural highlights."
Further, I think a lot about my competition in the entertainment industry. Much of my competition is younger guys who have more money and more time and more connections than I have ever had. Plus, they don't nor ever will feel drawn to spend the time and money on their hair that I often feel like I am expected to - in the sense that I am judged when I don't, or at least, constantly judged and summed up by how I look. In other words, not only am I behind them on a base level, but then I am drawn into a cycle that wastes what time and money I do have. It's all very catch-22, and I definitely consider it a trap: That women are drawn into a cycle where they add to their base disadvantages by spending time and money on appearance - and at the same time are judged harshly if they don't.
In this case, knowledge doesn't exactly set you free, because somehow you still have to navigate the realities while you try to succeed.
My moment of truth, however - at least this month - came because I had a dental filling fall out. Which meant I had to go to the dentist. Which meant that the topic of my cavities and need for deep cleaning were going to rear their head again. Which is a financial issue for me.
Except somewhere in the financial freak out I realized that the first immediate dental bill I was freaking out about (two fillings and 1/4 of the deep cleaning) was almost the same amount I paid last time I went to the salon for a cut/color/blow dry. And I realized that my fears of societal judgment meant that I chose to spend money on my hair instead of my teeth. Which is pretty absurd bullshit, to be frank.
I'm still struggling with my decision to grow out my gray. I remain vigilant for negative repercussions. But I'm definitely not dying it again until after my cavities are filled and my deep cleaning is completed. That, at least, seems like common sense.
Over at Dove click Watch the Film for a fun look at the absurdity, if that's possible.
The personal is political, and hair issues are even more of an issue for women of color. Mamas, Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up To Hate Kinky is a powerful post about what utter bullshit it is to expect black women to straighten their hair (time, money, and pain) to look "professional" and "clean."
And from there, I'd like to jump to the topic of racism and ask you to please read this post: "Do you understand where you are?" A look at our continuing realities in America and a great read.