An Open Breakup Letter to My Gray Hair

It’s not you, it’s me (and society’s messed-up ideals of when women should go gray).
Publish date:
June 2, 2015
hair color, gray hair, aging

Dear Gray Hair,

I’m 25 years old, and you have been from my head for at least two years now. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions since noticing you a few years ago, but I’m just not ready to commit to you for the rest of my life. Not yet.

You first appeared in my hairline, slightly off-centre, in exactly the spot where I like to part my hair. I was angry to begin with, not prepared to accept that I could have grey hairs at 22. I spent a lot of time very close to the mirror, raking through my roots and plucking you out. I thought I was rid of you, until I went to get my hair done and my stylist told me you were all through the back of my head, too.

I stopped fighting you that way, not because plucking causes three more white hairs to grow in (not true anyway), but because you were easier to hide if you weren’t one inch long and sticking straight up from my forehead.

I did some research to see if our relationship is normal. Apparently, women start seeing gray hairs in their early thirties, on average. Reading through the comments here, though, it seems like most of us are finding grays a little younger. But a decidedly non-scientific Googling session gave me very few results for gray female celebrities in their thirties who, statistically, should have some grays by now. Even this list of awesome women in their sixties is short on silver vixens.

I remember talking to a friend a few years older than me. We agreed that it would be fine to go gray one day—just not yet. We wanted to transition from healthy, glossy brown to a slick silver art-teacher bob in an instant, but not for another twenty years. My Mum agrees, saying she’ll stop dyeing over her gray when she’s 50.

After a while, I started thinking you weren’t so bad. I figured it’s pretty remarkable that my scalp can suddenly produce hair an entirely different colour. I was kinda proud of us. Maybe I could grow in a streak from my temple as a token of wisdom. And Coco Rocha is growing grays, so I’m keeping good company.

Then I started studying again, in a class where the average age is about 19. One of my classmates started calling me "Mama Morgan," and while cute and a testament to my maturity, it also made me feel extra-old.

So it’s not you, it’s me.

I decided to colour my hair again. Just for the short term. Maybe it’s dishonest. I’m still weirded out that pop culture likes to pretend people magically become wise and gray-haired in our middle years, but not before.

I’ve spent enough time anguishing about you, though, that I’m ready to forget about you for a while. It’s for the best.