A Hairy Decision

baby me
Baby me.

God blessed me with a head of hair—in fact, I was born with so much hair that the nurses put a gauze bow in it for the first time my dad saw me (back in the day when dads hung out in the waiting room). My hair is thick, and it has a mind of its own.

I started going gray at 21, and I didn’t give it much thought. At 29, my “thought” was to wait to do anything about my hair until I was 40…and then I would color it and look so much younger people would think I’d had a facelift! (Good plan, Lis!) At 30, I decided to have my hair professionally colored…once…because I was getting married, and I figured a few photos might be taken. At 35, looking at photos of me in the hospital after giving birth to my son, I decided he needed a mom who didn’t look any older than she already was, so I began to color my hair via my personal stylist Ms. Clairol.

Why the hair backstory? Just to frame a little episode I had this past summer. I was in a long-hair phase (I, like many women I know, have spent my whole life either growing out my hair or thinking about getting it cut shorter). I was pretty dedicated to this phase, growing it all out for a couple years. Long, thick hair + needing to color it every three weeks (yes…that’s right…unless I want to be confused with a skunk, I need that kind of color upkeep) was wearing on me, though…but I didn’t know just how much, until “the incident.”

Early one morning, we were headed out as a family to Six Flags, and I was hustling to try and get everything ready—including myself. I was at the point where I had just put product in my hair and was getting ready to wash my hands when my son called me into his room as though a limb had just fallen off. After immediately running in to check on him and learn that the crisis involved finding a particular shirt, I gave him a little what-for, and then promptly took what was left on my hands at the time he called me and ran it through my hair. There was just one tiny little problem.

In less than a moment, I had forgotten that what I had on my hands was not hair product but liquid hand soap.

By this time, my son had left the room and my husband stood there to see me begin to twitch and wail over this recent development. He offhandedly said, “What’s the big deal? Can’t you just rinse it out?” Well, what followed was an eruption of what I later realized was “latent hair anger.” It came bubbling forth like Mt. Vesuvius. My husband stood there slack-jawed as phrases like “you have no idea what it’s like to blow dry this hair every day!” and “not to mention that I have to color it every three weeks!” shot out of my mouth. He just slowly backed out of the room and said, “Uh, okay…I’m just gonna close the door and let you be for a while…” Wise man.

I realized in that moment that maybe it was time for a change. Very soon after that I got my hair cut to shoulder length. It still is a lot of hair, but it takes less time overall to care for. Long-hair phase #258 was now over.

But the gray issue was still to be figured out. There were several shades to it, though probably less than 50 (…sorry…like I was gonna talk about this and not make a bad pun about that damn book?) I went on a fact-finding mission about what it’s like for a woman to let her hair go gray. Pros: Freedom! Time! Money! No chemicals! Cons: The process is a bitch, and you’ll look way older.

I brought it up in conversation to numerous people to hear their opinions on it. Lots of opinions. Many, many opinions. They fell into two main categories: “I think you’d look good gray” vs “Are you out of your freakin’ mind?!” Lots of food for thought.

So, you may wonder…what was my decision? To table it. I’m blessed to have hair to color–this I know. So I’m going to keep calm and color brown. For now. But who knows? Maybe Hair Vesuvius will blow again and cause another change to happen.

Do you have an opinion on the matter? I thought just maybe you might.