Transition Story: Nora
Hungarian, but living in Germany for the last 15 years
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How old were you when you discovered your first gray hair?
I started coloring my hair at a very young age: 16.
However, at that time it was only for fun. Aubergine (eggplant) was absolutely in at that time (oh, sweet 1990s!) in my community, and I just went with the flow. So, it is difficult for me to tell how old I was when I discovered my first gray hair because I rarely saw my hair as it was.
I tried almost everything – black, dark brown, blonde highlights at the top of my head or full highlights everywhere resulting in blonde. It was in the last ten years that I realized, I don´t color my hair for fun anymore. I color it to hide my gray roots. And it felt wrong, especially because my color is a brown shade – close to my original hair color.
How did your friends/family make you feel about your gray hair?
Since I have never consulted my family members or my friends on hair issues, I don’t feel the need to explain my gray journey to them, or to wait for their approval. This is my hair, my life. I feel secure enough to make this decision for myself all by myself. I, of course, explained my motivation to my husband. And he is supportive.
What made you decide to stop dyeing and go gray?
Going gray was a spontaneous decision for me. I mean, only a week went by between the first ever thought of wanting to go gray and making a commitment to myself that I never, ever wanted to dye my hair again.
However, I recognize that there were three factors that led me to this point.
Being a Role Model
My daughter is 10 years old. She has danced ballet since she was 4. Her class has regular appearances in theaters or festivals. I like to use the backstage time with her and her friends for bonding, so I usually volunteer and help them to get stage-ready. I enjoy this time a lot.
This year though, something changed.
These girls became very conscious about their appearance. It seemed that the joy of dancing and being seen on stage became secondary, but bashing themselves was in. I also understand that some of the obviously beautiful girls were simply out for attention-seeking. So, if they said something harsh about their own appearance, other girls would hurry to claim the opposite of it. Still, I think that these girls and all the girls need positive images and a whole bunch of role models to not lose track. Especially if they were serious about their dancing career.
Playing the “Life Game”
Because of my husband’s assignment as an executive of his company, we must attend a few social events throughout the year. Although these events with all the small talk and stuff are not my “happy places”, with time I got used to it and I now make the best of it.
One of my favorite things to do is observation: How do these successful people celebrate? What does success make out of humans? Why and how do they try to impress other attendees? Is this possibly coming from their heart or do they need to fake it? Is there a right way to play the “life game”?
Fighting the Hair Fight
One of the most common comments I get from hairdressers is that I have thick hair and a lot of it. They don´t mean it as a compliment. It is meant to inform me that they will charge extra money for the extra time they need to spend with me and the extra products they need to put on my hair to get a solid result.
Even at home, because my hair won’t behave, I need to blow-out and straighten it. Every. Single. Time. The struggle is real.
So about two months ago, in June 2018, I accidentally came across the Curly Girl Method phenomenon on social media. I feel like I must have been living under a rock. I discovered a whole new universe! My hair was not misbehaving; instead, it was utterly misunderstood. The very first wash day using the CG method (and skipping the blowout and straightening) yielded such good results!
I was so used to the struggle around my hair, that I kept asking myself: is this really it? Can my hair be done so simply?
My Chosen Track
By now you can imagine, going gray is my answer to the three factors described above.
Hair is never going to be simply hair. Your relationship to your hair represents so many things. It can teach positive body image to your daughter. It can help you find your way to not lose dignity by trying to fake it (and failing at it) in a given social setup. And finally, it can help you win the hair fight. Or should I say it can eliminate the urge to fight it ever again?
I am 8 weeks in. I’m going cold turkey. I feel amazing.