So when we first got to Kuala Lumpur, I realized I wasn’t feeling my cutest. Whatever that means. Just not feeling my best. In the appearance department. Not feeling comfortable in my skin.
Whenever I feel like this, I’m quick to point a finger at the gray hair. Is it terrible? Is it even that noticeable? Is everyone staring at me and whispering things behind my back? Wow, that chick let her roots grow. For like A YEAR.
But I think just saying the gray hair, is an easy fix. It doesn’t really get at the root of the problem. (Heh.)
It certainly didn’t help that when we arrived, we were dealing with wicked jet lag, new circumstances, and all sorts of other things that made us less than well-rested.
I’ve mentioned before, but I’m getting used to dressing a little differently. People do wear shorts. Short shorts even. But not necessarily right where I live, and I’ve just been finding that it doesn’t always feel comfortable. To me.
So there are moments when I feel at a loss on what to wear. EVEN though I have plenty of clothes and it’s fine. The clothes are just different than what I wore all summer.
(To comment on how ludicrous this is, do you know how many pairs of shorter shorts I own? THREE. And the two rompers with short legs. But STILL. It’s not like I lost half my wardrobe. I’m just being dramatic. And I could wear the shorts anyway if I wanted. But I digress.)
I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we spent a week at the pool when we arrived, but my hair dryer hadn’t arrived yet. I did have my straightener, but with everything else going on, the adapters and transformers for it kept not making it to the bathroom. Half dry, half crispy, frizzy hair does not one feeling cute make.
If we get a little deeper, I think I feel like Jessi Klein mentions in her book when she says she looks at her face and it looks different and she can’t put her finger on it. She realizes that her face just doesn’t look young anymore. It doesn’t look old. Just not young anymore.
And then there is the gray hair thing. I change my mind daily on how I feel about it. In some ways, it isn’t that noticeable. In some ways, it really is. Sometimes I think the streaks of silver look cool. Sometimes I look around at the heads surrounding me and feel like I’m the ONLY one with gray hair.
I wouldn’t mind the color as much, but I feel like the texture has changed. It just doesn’t feel as manageable. Some of that could be related to stress of recent move or who knows what other factors. But, of course, I blame the gray hair.
So I was definitely tempted when I was listening to my podcasts and heard Happier in Hollywood interview Dr. Sara Gottfried. I haven’t picked up Dr. Sara’s book, but she talks about Hair Print. This is a product that supposedly acts through a “healing and non-toxic process that mimics what hair follicles do: infuse hair with its natural pigment.”
Color me intrigued. Not only does the product restore hair color, but it also claims to help on texture, body, and overall hair appearance. Yes, please.
It’s not cheap though. At $39 a bottle, this makes it cheaper than salon treatments, but more expensive than at home coloring kits. (I think after the first treatment, you don’t go through a whole bottle for touch ups, but don’t quote me on this.) I do like the thought of a product with non-toxic ingredients.
I’m turned off by the application time. It could be like 90 minutes. This is the big one for me. When I analyzed why I wanted to stop coloring my hair, I kept coming back to the time. Right now I’m free. Do I want to go back to watching my roots and having to schedule in time to take care of them?
I keep wondering. Why do I care?
Why do we care so much about how we look? Why do we women spend so much time thinking about appearance? I don’t recall any particulate moments of indoctrination on this one. Is it just a lifetime of subtle messaging? Of course, there is the research that attractive people do better at life. But does that fully explain why I care?
And then, in between when I started writing this post and now, Happier in Hollywood had another episode that touches on gray hair. (One of the hosts, Sarah Fain, has gray hair that she wonders about coloring from time to time.) In this one, they had a listener respond that she had gone back to coloring her hair after feeling invisible. After she went blonde, she said she “felt seen” again in a way that she hadn’t in awhile. Was it the confidence from the hair color? She admitted that didn’t hurt, but she thought a lot was the color.
On another gray hair episode, they mentioned that a listener urged Sarah to color because this was her time to be young. She had years ahead for gray hair. Why not enjoy being young now?
I think these things touch on something I wonder about. Am I cute/interesting/young enough looking to “pull off” gray hair? Can I trade on the rest of my appearance to compensate for the gray? Who knows.
And why do I care??
Do you ever feel like you are mentally stuck at a certain age? For me, I still seem to think of myself as being around 28. Which seems close to now, but also light years away.
I think I care because it is starting to feel like my me on the outside doesn’t match up with how I think I look on the outside. It’s not just seeing a change in the mirror, but knowing that everybody else doesn’t see the me that I think I am.
Would having my old hair make me feel like that person again? I don’t know.
So Project Gray Out has been going on now for OVER A YEAR. I think I could be just two hair cuts away from getting to hair uniformity. Since I’m bad at quitting, I’d like to at least see what this looks like. Just because I’m so close. Relatively speaking.
And then? We’ll see. I don’t know what my long term solution is. (For what it’s worth, Sarah on Happier in Hollywood decided to do a temporary hair dye recently. I’ll be interested to see where she goes with it.)
For me, for now, I’m trying to own it. I’m half tempted to run up to every person I’ve met here and ask how gray my hair looks to them. But I haven’t because that would be weird and it’s really not helpful. It doesn’t matter what they think. It matters what I think.
So I’ve bought a few new clothes. I’m reminding myself to accessorize. I’m taking some time to blow dry and straighten my hair. Chasing the cute, at least for myself, while trying to figure out why I care.
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4 thoughts on “I don’t feel cute (and other first world problems)”
You touched on so many interesting thoughts, Melissa! I’ve considered the “I have enough years in my future to look old” and “does the rest of my appearance compensate for having my odd rarity hair without looking terrible?” But, like you, I think it comes down to that when I see myself in a mirror it just doesn’t look like what I think I look like. BUT… I wish more women just did their own thing instead of trying to fit into a narrow definition of beauty. There is so much beauty in all our uniqueness and it is far more interesting to behold variety!!!
But then it always comes back to the time and expense of keeping up with it. The chemicals that are bad for me and the earth. A
Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts, especially because you are my hair muse! I think it honestly never occurred to me that having uncolored hair was an option until I saw how fierce and fabulous you look. I totally get looking different in the mirror, but I have always always thought your hair rocked.
Hmm… that’s what I get for multitasking and constant interruptions from a three year old. A totally discombobulated comment 😂