I have no doubt that in my heart and especially in my vision of myself, I will be the Middle AgeD Goddess until I leave this world, but let’s face it, chronologically my middle age is not going to last forever. My forties have been left in the dust, and I blew past fifty almost seven years ago. It’s a bit disconcerting to realize I am closer to the next decade than I am to the last one I left behind.
There is a prevailing edict for women of middle age and beyond in our culture to fight the outward signs of aging until the dying breath. Of late, I find I am always struggling to exude the correct mix of vitality, grace and maturity without being perceived as dated and frumpy. The older I get the more exhausting the effort becomes and I wonder, when will it be okay with everybody else for me to look my natural age?
I’m pretty sure, the answer is never, but in moving toward yet another decade of life, what other people think is right for me has less meaning than ever before. And, the more tricky it becomes to pull off the facade of youth without appearing like I’m foolishly clinging to false hopes, the more I relish the thought of accepting the crown of the Crone.
In that spirit, I decided to stop coloring my hair. I don’t remember exactly when I made that decision—I’m guessing about six months ago judging from the three-plus inches of growth from my roots of dark brown with gray streaks. What I do remember very distinctly is that last color coming out somewhat on the hot pink side of the color wheel (in the sunlight at least) instead of the usual chestnut brown. It eventually faded to a tolerable auburn.
When I began this outgrowth, I wasn’t quite sure what might be revealed; my mother and my sister both went mostly gray—stunning silver, to be exact—quite early in their lives. Alas I am blessed with the genes from my paternal grandmother and aunties, who all continued coloring their hair well into their 90s. I’m beginning to understand why; I think all gray is far less aging than this salt and (mostly) pepper nonsense—it’s not even a color for Pete’s sake.
A few weeks ago, I had nearly all off the faded titian tresses (six inches worth) snipped off, leaving me with a contemporary, wavy bob I hoped would help me look less dragged out and perhaps a bit younger. Every man who has been brave enough to comment truthfully says it makes me look older than my age. I tend to agree, which is why I didn’t turn any of them into balding, paunch-bellied,Viagra popping men. Oh, wait; they already are.
All of that aside, I’m fed up to my whiskered chin with bad hair days. Long, short, colored, graying, straight, curly, none of it is making me happy when I look in the mirror. I am sorely tempted to chop it within an inch of its life and go platinum blonde—what’s the worst that could happen?
Get a ^ life!