|Thanks for joining me for the|
#SOL16 Story Challenge, and
thank you, Stacey and the team
at Two Writing Teachers.
After three years contemplating going natural, one year ago this month I said "I DO"--I do vow to let my hair go gray. I do promise to just say "NO" to the rainbow of hues my cosmetologist since 1989 has been dabbing on my locks.
My journey to gray began 35 years ago when I plucked the first silvery thread from my head during my first year teaching. Symbolically I had crossed the threshold from adolescence to adulthood, from co-ed, to colleague. Game on, Gray! From the moment I slayed that first gray strand, I waged a war on gray. Not only would I not embrace the fifty shades of gray, but I would banish all gray tones from my pate.
At first, plucking random strands that periodically peeked into my mirror worked to keep the gray at bay, but around 1990 I had to find a new strategy, one that led me to the bottle of dye and began my monthly liaison with Kaylene. Together we waged a hairy war, and soon I no longer knew the color of my own hair. "I thought you were a red-head when I met you," my husband said when I read the first draft of this post to him.
When I made the final decision to go gray, Kaylene and I strategized and birthed a plan that made the transformation less obvious. I began the change last March.
|With my colleague and friend Debbie Greco at|
my school, April 2015
At first, no one noticed, but when I returned to school after summer break, I saw the sideways glances of some of my colleagues. They thought I'd jumped the shark. My hair, last September, looked blonde--platinum blonde. "Did Glenda bleach her hair? Is she trying to look like a teenager?" The psst, psst, pssting persisted, but in time I found ways to tell people that I'm embracing my shade of gray.
|My sister Gaylene and me in our |
younger, blonder years.
I also wondered if my friends would recognize me at NCTE last November; those fears proved in vain.
Fortunately, my gray hair seems to be garnering approval from many students, and the timing for this change is right as gray is the color du jour right now. But the transition has not been easy. It has taken a year, and I still see traces of yellow from the last highlighting Kaylene applied to help transition the color from what it was to what it is.
|Friends at the Nerdy Party at NCTE 15: Dana Huff, me, |
Jen Ansbach, Sarah Mullen-Gross
Teenagers--especially ninth grade boys--often have a sense of honesty that leads them to say things such as "I don't really like your hair" when their female teachers appear with a new hair color or style. At these times I get a little snarky and say, "Well, it's a good thing I'm not participating in the beauty contest today."
|My hubby Ken and me at the Neon Museum in |
Las Vegas, December, 2015.
"You should color your hair blue," the young lady advised.
"Actually, I've been thinking about pink and purple," I said. Seriously, I have a Pintrest board featuring a rainbow of shades of gray, from pink to purple to passion fruit. I like color in all its tints and tinctures.
Bot for a quarter century I've denied my true hair color. I've hid behind a palate, for now, I'm embracing my shade of gray.
*Dedication: For Dana Huff whose lovely locks inspired me to be bold and brave and embrace going gray. Thanks, Dana!