Thursday, June 12, 2014


     I was at an all day meeting today for work. The room was filled with professional men and women sharply dressed and on point.  I like to people watch, and I noticed from my vantage point near the rear of the room not one woman with an ounce of gray hair on her head.  No one except me.
     When I was a little girl, my Nana used to say she was going to go the grave a blond.  I will tell you that blond hair does not run in my family.  I loved her sassiness (Mom used to say it skips a generation), and I thought I would do the same with my hair when the time came.  Mom dyed her hair for years, she would even enlist us in making sure she got every spot - using whatever boxed dye was on sale.  Then one year, she stopped, letting it go all gray.  She kept it in a cute bob with bangs.  I would look at my own reddish brown hair and think of Nana.  
     As they started to show up, I was able to hide them simply by flipping my hair this direction or that.  I would worry about finding a color that would match my natural color, something that wouldn't make me look less like me.  This indecision has left me at 41 with quite a bit of gray hair peppered throughout my still long hair.  Surprisingly though, it doesn't bother me, and in fact, I kind of think it's sexy.  I don't know if anyone else thinks it is, but I digress. 
     There was a brief period of time before my oldest child was born where I did attempt some semipermanent color just for the fun of it.  It was this super neat deep purple color, but it became clear to me that any foray into apparent individual creativity would probably not progress me and my career.  So I quickly changed back, struggling with that constant push and pull of how much one can be oneself versus what one has to give up in order to succeed in a corporate environment.  Like so many of us, if I was pursuing my true calling,  I'd be dark red (or purple) right now.
     At today's meeting, I saw so many beautiful women with all sorts of fabulous cuts and styles but not one gray hair.  I began to wonder about my choice.  Do I come across as much older than I actually am?  How does this affect the opinion of the people in the room who hold the power to promote me - am I considered more or less capable of handling my job?  When I was a member of the Forensics team in college, my mentor taught me early on that it didn't matter how great my speech was, how prepared I was or how on point I was with my transitions and segues if my outfit wasn't fantastic and my makeup wasn't perfect.  I refused to believe him.  Surely, I could stand on the merit of my arguments alone.  After a couple of tough losses to people who were clearly better dressed and coifed than me but with less than stellar speeches, that I had to swallow the bitter pill.  It wasn't fair, but it was true.
     I think I'll hold out a smidge longer. 

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