Welcome to SWEEPS WEEK!
I am very proud to introduce my first SuperStar Guest Blogger:
Kelly Epperson Simmons!
I met Kelly about eight years ago and in that time she has grown from a dreamer into a full-blown contributor to the completion of other people’s dreams. Her accomplishments, just in the time I’ve known her, have been many and massive, and yes, just a little bit, I think, hmmm, before me she was a mild mannered ex-IRS agent working for the Literacy Council. wink, wink
Kelly surrounds herself with written words– on the page, on her walls, in the books she ghost writes, the books she reads, and in the books of the people she coaches. Kelly also surrounds herself with spoken words– humorous, insightful, loving, appreciative and caring words. It’s no wonder she’s been commended time and again for being a talented wordsmith.
Without further ado, I give you, my Kelly Joy.
The Courage to Go Gray
by Kelly Epperson Simmons
Whenever my roots would start to grow out (I was a passionate devotee of medium reddish brown 5RB), I’d lift up my hair at various angles to see just how gray I’d be if I let it go. My mom has gorgeous silver hair and maybe mine would be pretty too if I went natural.
But I kept coloring. If I mentioned the desire or curiosity to go gray, everyone scoffed (including hairdressers). The consensus was I was “too young” to consider such a thing. (I’m 50.) Just what is the “approved age” to be a silver sister?
I began to take inventory of how many gray-haired women I spotted at events I attended. They were the minority, certainly, but most in the silver/white/gray club looked vibrant and beautiful. I decided to go for it. If I hated it, I could always go buy a box of 5RB.
The response was fascinating. I was told how much courage it takes to go gray. I thought what a sad world we live in if I have to use my allotment of courage on this earth just to let my hair be the color it naturally is. Shouldn’t courage be tapped into for more important things?
I bought the domain name couragetogogray.com and thought I would blog on the topic with photos of the progress. My hair was fairly short to begin with. I got a shorter haircut and the roots began to emerge, longer and longer. The mix of grays blended right in. There was never a stark line of demarcation. It happened so quickly I never used that domain name or wrote blogs.
People would double take yet no one said much. I was once asked if my hair was purple. “No, that is gray you see coming out up there,” I replied.
It took only about four months to be the mostly gray I am now. I love it.
Yes, I love it. I do not feel old. I have received many compliments, from the color being lovely to having a “young face so I can pull off the gray” to “wow, that looks better than your old hair color.”
I am grateful for the compliments, but mostly I’m giddy that I like it and that I am in a new phase of letting go of other’s opinions. One’s hair choices are up to the owner of that head.
So, dearest ladies, if you feel it is time to go natural, go for it. All of life is an experiment. If you don’t like it, go back to coloring. If you like it, fabulous. It should not be a matter of courage, it is simply a matter of choice.
I have a friend who thought she had a reaction to a hair treatment. She was itchy and miserable and devastated to think she would have to stop coloring her hair. When she found out that her malady was in fact shingles, she was relieved. “Thank God it’s shingles! I have weddings to go to this summer, I can’t go gray!”
I have my bonus son’s wedding this fall. I will be there with gray hair. Why does gray hair still have a stigma?
If you want to dye your hair, that is wonderful. If you feel you HAVE to, that is a horse of a different color (and sure not gray). Maybe I do have some blogging to do on this topic.
“Well-meaning” people will want to convince you that gray is bad, wrong, or old. I’ve bucked conventional wisdom a few times (letting go of a cushy government job, letting go of a 20-year marriage, moving to a foreign country, marrying a new man) and things have turned out better than I could ever have imagined. Letting my hair go gray was no big deal and I didn’t waste any of my allotted courage.
Hair color is a personal decision and one that is only yours to make. If you have been wanting to see what your natural color is now, go for it. I have a hunch you will love it. And we can start a new club. Courage to Go Gray. I’ve got the domain name.
(Kelly Epperson Simmons can be found at www.kellyepperson.com. Kelly has written 25+ books, some for New York Times best selling authors, one that sold over 3 million copies. She is a newspaper columnist and judge for the Erma Bombeck Essay Competition. And she loves MaryFranSays.)