What Does it Mean to be a Silver Sister?
Remember the miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin who spun straw into gold?
All these years, Mother Nature has been spinning my hair into beautiful silver strands, and I had no idea because I was covering it up with dye. What a revelation!
For the first time in my life, I’ve got sparkly hair! I’ve got freaking Christmas tinsel growing out of my head. What the what?
No more need for special treatments to make my hair shiny and glossy – it’s growing out of the top of my head that way!
To think that I spent all those years avoiding the “dreaded” skunk line, only to find out that it didn’t bother me once it started growing out for real.
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I haven’t felt this energized about my own looks since I was a much younger woman.
It’s fun and completely NOT what I expected, and DEFINITELY not what society led me to expect about going gray.
Years of TV commercials and print ads made me think that going gray meant breaking out the Geritol and the Polident and settling into my flannel nightgown for the rest of my (short) life.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet 😜 – I LIKE my gray hair. I like it more than I expected to like it. I’m obsessed with it.
I like my long, calico, two-toned hair.
It’s FUN for me to see the dye fading and the gray coming in.
It’s like being a science experiment AND being the scientist at the same time! I’m in no rush to cut off the dye – I want to keep this experiment going.
Knowing how people are, when I decided to go gray, I prepared myself for some rude or intrusive remarks from people who wouldn’t understand this journey.
I’ve had to endure a couple of those, but not too many.
I caught a couple ladies snickering at my skunk line in public, but I’m self-confident enough in my journey that I brushed it off.
Who cares what these people think? They haven’t yet discovered how great gray can be!
I don’t know if I could have been this strong without the community of silver sisters that I’ve met through Facebook and Instagram.
They taught me ways to transition, how to deal with rude people, and how to see the beauty in gray hair.
These are the ladies that you can count on to have your back and give you support. If it weren’t for them, this journey would be SO much harder.
So, I was shocked yesterday when a friend reached out to me to let me know that a fellow silver sister on Instagram was using one of my photos (without permission) to make an insulting point about two-toned transitioning hair.
This person used my and other two-tone transitioning ladies’ stolen photos to make a collage with the words “Don’t Wait So Long to Cut Your Hair” emblazoned upon it.
This “lady” was using MY photo to publicly insult MY choice to transition MY hair the way that works best for ME.
All the lovely support I’ve gotten for the last 9 months flew out the window; all I could focus on was this public insult.
I have never been this angry in my life. My hands were shaking with rage.
I felt humiliated and betrayed by a woman who made it quite clear that she finds my type of gray hair transition ugly and to be avoided.
Counting to 10 before I responded would have been a good idea, but I didn’t do that.
Instead, with shaking hands, I unleashed my fury on this lady. I told her she had violated my copyright (true!), and that she had used my image to propagate a message that I personally find offensive (namely, that there’s only one right way to transition your hair).
I’m generally a mild person, but I let this woman have it!
I was out and about when this happened, and I couldn’t easily report the copyright violation to Instagram on my iPhone, so I got in my car and started speeding home to get to my desktop.
Luckily for me, I couldn’t speed. Traffic was jammed. My usual 20-minute drive home took about 45 minutes. I wanted to listen to LOUD MUSIC to fit my mood, but the only CD in my car was the Topsy-Turvy soundtrack.
I BLASTED that all the way home until the absurdity of angrily listening to Gilbert & Sullivan hit me and I was able to calm down and think a bit.
Why was I so upset?
OK, the copyright violation part was bad – I’m a photographer, and nothing makes me angrier than stolen images.
But that wasn’t what was really bothering me.
What really got me upset, besides the public humiliation of having my photo used as an example of what NOT to do, was the judgment. Judgment has no place in the gray hair acceptance movement.
This feeling of bucking social norms and accepting myself has had me walking on air for the past 8.5 months.
As I’ve done in the past, I assumed that everyone felt this way and was shocked to find that some silver sisters still judge other women and want them to adhere to what they deem “correct.”
Well, to heck with that!
It takes balls to grow your hair gray in the first place, and I feel like it takes extra big balls to walk around with a stark demarcation line for months. (I was so mad yesterday, I was about to head over to Zazzle to make a shirt that says “I’ve got balls!” but I didn’t think that would sell because people would just be confused… But if you want me to add it to my shop, let me know 😉!)
We silver sisters have a unique bond – no matter what age, what race, what nationality, we have one thing in common: We’re growing out our gray hair and letting society know that we will not be pressured to adhere to its standards.
So, can we all agree to this Silver Sister Manifesto?
1- No judging the way another woman is transitioning
2 – No “helpful” unsolicited advice
3 – Be Kind
That’s easy, right?
I don’t care how you transition: whether you cut your hair short, or wear it long… Whether you get it blended or highlighted or opt for the cold-turkey route.
Heck, I wouldn’t judge you if decided to go back to dyeing!
Going gray is a great way to rediscover the real you – and if the real you prefers to dye your hair, that’s your choice and I support you.
What does being a silver sister mean to you? Please let me know in the comments.
Have a great week!
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