ms. fresh fish


Where are the dolphins? A (terribly titled) post about my hair.
May 4, 2013, 10:10 pm
Filed under: fashion, general

Somewhere along the line, the programming to be skinny, or at least strive to be skinny and hate yourself if you’re not, happened.  I have struggled with it for as long as I can remember, although not in any way that was detrimental to my body. It was only detrimental to my self-esteem, which was so dysfunctional already that it basically looked for detriments.

Often times, I thought about the supermodel motto:  “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

And I wondered… maybe her skinny was able to comfort her after a really bad day. I don’t know, maybe she found a way to share her skinny over dinner with friends. I was never able to figure out how to do that. So here I am, very healthy, focusing on nutrition and fitness with only the occasional (uncontrollable) wish that I looked crazy-awesome in a bikini. While age is wearing away vanity for the most part, the Strive For Skinny Programming is without doubt deeply embedded in my brain. It must have happened before I became a feminist in Grade 5.

I know, without doubt, that I am not alone in the above conflict. Granted, there are a lot of women who did not succumb to the programming (and let’s face it, they are always the hottest ones in the room because they don’t give a damn), but I fear there are more of us – or a lot, anyway – who did.

This is in stark contrast to grey/white hair, for which, for some reason, the programming of me just didn’t take. I’ve never really noticed if someone had grey/white hair. I will appreciate a cool hair style, regardless of colour, but opine about someone’s hair colour? Each to their own, I guess I’ve always felt.

I’ve had greys for almost ten years now, but in the last six months they’ve been coming in fast and furiously. And I have been loving it. I find it so fascinating – it’s like a science experiment on my head! From ten to 100 in no time – such a fast, uncontrollable change in physical appearance! Not only do I find it fascinating, I don’t find them repulsive. I don’t find them beautiful mind you, but I never found “brown” to be particularly awe-inspiring either. I just see them as the natural change that my body is going through, and if anything, natural highlights. And, did I mention that I find their emergence fascinating?

I have been given a plethora of looks and opinions about this new hair development. With these interjections, I’ve been given a perspective into so many people’s deeply-embedded thoughts on the matter. It would seem that people really find this colour (OK, and texture) of hair ugly. Some have rolled their eyes at me, attributing my laissez-faire attitude with my new Yoga/granola mindset (whatever that may be), and others have said outright: “You need to dye your hair.” People are really committed to the banishment of grey/white hair. Yet another area of fascination for me!

There is also, of course, the fear of aging aspect to acknowledge, and this may be the more important dynamic. From where I’m standing (which is usually in front of a mirror, playing with my greys, because ohmygoodness look! There are MORE!), whether it’s the fear that has resulted in people being repulsed by the greys that remind them of aging or the power of cosmetic companies combined with a patriarchal quest to objectify women (or a combination thereof), either way, people find them ugly.

In the event that everyone else (except for two people who have always encouraged me to rock the greys) is right, I’ve tried to look at my evolving hair situation as ugly; to see it through their eyes, as it were. This amuses me because if I tried to look at my thighs as ugly, I’d… never mind, already there (please don’t make me look at my thighs!). But I just don’t see it with the grey hair.

I feel like I’m standing in front of one of those AMAZING 90’s art pieces that looked abstract but if you stared at it long enough, two dolphins jumping out of the water would appear and you’d wonder how you ever didn’t see them. Anyway, I’ve been staring at my grey-white hair, moving them around, tracking their progress, trying to find their ugly/see the dolphins, but I just can’t do it.

The programming didn’t take. There was a blip in the matrix.

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12 Comments so far
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My good gf has a head full greys that I’ve always loved it but! she’s coupled it with a cool short hair cut. If you go long and grey, I think you’re entering dangerous territory. And I don’t believe it’s the patriarchal quest or beauty magazines that decided it’s wrongness. I think it’s simply a clash in the human design. Like leopard print and polka dots. Long hair is young, grey is old (er). It’s like tap dance shoes with a prom dress. Heavy earrings and heavy necklace worn together. Red upholstery in an orange car. You get my point. Rock the grey, but keep it short (ish). Or….Grow it out and see if your matrix computes. Super read.

Comment by Taanis

Taany – I totally get what you’re saying and agree that, 99% of the time, greys look better in a short, sleek, glam cut. BUT, one of my hair inspirations was someone I worked with who was 35 at the time and had this ridiculously GORGEOUS mane of dark brown hair, with maybe ever 50th hair white. It looked.so.stunning. Alas, I don’t think mine’s ever going to be as lovely as that, but I’m still growing it out again, maybe one last time, because I miss my messy top-head bun.

Comment by freshfish

Super post Lori! I am one of the dyers, but in my defense I died my hair blonde as a 16 year old and just never stopped. However, I do like that I can choose organic colour now. I don’t have an issue with “grey/white” hair at all, I just don’t ever think it would suit my colouring… having said that, I think it boils down to personal opinion, personal choice and the majority of polls be damned. If I thought for a minute I could pull off grey/white hair, I’d be doing a super short cool hair do (much like the one you have now). I say rock what you want baby…

Comment by lindamgeorges

I get it. Totally. My mom is still dying her hair, albeit a whiter shade of red than her former red. I actually think it would totally suit your colouring because your colouring is of a personality that is warm, open and hilarious and that’s what people see first! But question – do you think if you considered a different cut/style, you could then consider a different colour? Have you had the same colour/style for awhile (I obviously have no idea)? I’m just curious as to how that dynamic plays out. I know a lot of people are very attached to both their style and colour (I, clearly, am not – maybe because I’ve never really *liked* any of them.)

Comment by freshfish

Hi! I think for me that I am an eccentric creature of habit. I like my hair colour and style, have had it for about 8 years. The politics of body image/objectification aside, I don’t know why we are afraid of white hair. One could think that we should embrace our coming of age, so to speak, but we only fear it. Maybe it brings home our mortality. Maybe the power of the media and the underlying patriarchy has succeeded in making us question our looks every minute of every day (in a very painful way in many cases). It interests me that at 63 (almost 64), I still pay hommage to those who think i should look a certain way by being unsure of myself and how I look still (and maybe always, sadly). You can break free!!!! Do it for all of us! ;). Keep us posted on further thoughts pls.

Comment by lindamgeorges

8 years isn’t that long. I feel like some people have the same hair style for decades, which must mean they really love their hair. I’m only breaking free (and not so much doing it actively as much as realized that somehow I never got captured!) in the hair department. I work through the same stuff on lots of other fronts, and know THE ENTIRE TIME how wrong, unnecessary and perverse it is. I will keep you updated, including when I one day snap and dye out all my greys 😉

Comment by freshfish

Look forward to your updates on this issue. I am not averse to people letting their hair be grey, I think that for me, I am finally (it took some work – and therapy) at the place where I am really happy in myself and part of that is embracing that choice is available (as it is for women in areas that were never dreamed of before) and I’m making my choice to look a certain way that makes me feel good about myself and makes me happy. And it’s not even about age for me, I’m turning 64 in June and in my head I’m still 30 😉

Comment by lindamgeorges

I don’t want grey hair personally (the programming took – when I see it on myself it’s a symbol of ageing that rubs me the wrong way) but I think on other people I, too, am fascinated. Either on women who have full grey hair and look so suave and beautiful, or women who have partial grey which is always seems surprising to me because “they’re so young!” I need a re-program.

Comment by Marianna Annadanna

There it is. I was waiting for yours. Here’s the kicker though – people used to say to me “you’re so young to have white hair,” to which I reply either: “but I have acne too, so that proves I’m young!” or ” but lots of women have it, they just dye it, so actually it’s not weird at all… it’s just hidden.” You don’t need a re-program. If you started to embrace aging, it would ruin a lot of my life’s entertainment.

Comment by freshfish

I have always loved grey hair and have even wished that I had darker hair so the mine would stand out more! I’m so happy that you’re rockin’ yours:) I find it sad that more women don’t.

Comment by Elissa

Have you been in my head? Crazy. I’m fascinated watching my greys come in too. The funny thing is that they seem to be mostly along my part! Someone said to me yeah, part your hair somewhere else and you’ll find more… but not really. I’m developing a cool white/grey patch. Cool. 🙂

The rest of me though? Ugh. Don’t make me look. 😐 Great post!

Comment by Sarah Leonard

Amazing!! Someone else that’s also crazy! Do you think it’s all the chlorine we were exposed to as children that made us grey/crazy ;-)? (p.s. You may feel yucky but you always look radiant!)

Comment by freshfish




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