Wednesday, January 01, 2014

What Having Gray Hair Taught Me in 2013


Guess what!? I can honestly say that this year I've changed. Not changed a little, but changed in some  big, BIG ways! You know how every year , most of us make "resolutions" that always seem to quickly fade away? For some reason, this year was different. This year I feel as though there's been a fundamental "shift," an "aha!"; a turning point.

2013 wasn't a terrible year, compared to all of the things that could have gone terribly wrong. It wasn't a horrible year compared to many less fortunate people's years, but none-the-less, it was one of the most difficult and challenging years that I've ever been through. Our beloved cat Priya passed away in August, and it was the hardest thing that has ever happened to me. Some say that I am lucky in the sense that the largest tragedy that I've ever suffered is the death of a pet. I agree, but the pain of losing our friend of so many years, a pet who I considered my first "child," was just incredibly hard.

2013 was hard. We also thought that Willow had possibly contracted feline leukemia. It thankfully came down to a false positive on a test, but we had to wait two agonizing months over the summer for a re-check to confirm that it was just a faulty test. In that time, we had to test all three cats because it's highly communicable between felines, and it's fatal. I wept HUGE tears of joy when I found out that all three were negative and fine. Now in retrospect, no wonder I came down with the most horrible cold I have ever had in July. It was very unusual for me. I was just worn out!

This year was a time of reflection about my family and a new understanding of the healthiest ways to relate with them. It's not easy to become an adult and realize that you never had the basic family relationships and experiences that many of your friends had and continue to have with their parents or siblings or extended family. I know that old adage that no family is perfect or normal, but without going into it much, it's still difficult.

I finally admitted to myself how sad I am, and mostly just frustrated. Now I need to start working through the past and accepting the present and learning new ways to not let it get me down.
I'm incredibly thankful for the sweet, little family that I have with Noah and Jon, and know that only positive changes and growth can come from the difficult task of sloshing through old feelings.

The last three paragraphs were the hardest things of 2013, but the following is something that was both difficult AND positive.  It's no secret on this blog that I've suffered from worry and anxiety for most of my life. Mainly, I'm afraid to get sick and die! I am not a hypochondriac because I don't THINK that I have diseases and disorders, I just worry about the "what ifs"- what if my eye twitching means a neurological issue?  What if that spot on my arm is melanoma, not a melted piece of chocolates chip that just fell from my cookie ...... these are things that most people wouldn't really worry about, and I rationally get that!

I've tried incredibly hard  for nine years to ride myself of anxiety. Some things have helped, others not so much, but nothing has truly been able to take away the nagging feeling of being vulnerable and mortal in a world where so much can go wrong. The stupid thing is, I'm one of those people who LOVES the concept of "CARPE DIEM"!!!! And "stop and smell the roses!" and I COMPLETELY get the concept of being mindful and present in the moment. I've even read several books on the Buddhist concepts of accepting uncertainty and non-permanence as a normal, beautiful parts of life.
It's not like I don't get how completely wasteful it is to be anxious about things we have little control over. If I could wake up one morning and convince my brain to not think about being vigilant and super safety conscious and responsible and worrisome, I would!

At any rate, in my quest to try anything to rid myself of anxiety, this year I decided to face some of my biggest fears head-on, in a self-led exercise of "exposure and response therapy." (ERT)
I booked back-to-back check-ups with all of my different doctors this fall and made myself go AND ask all of the "what-if" questions that would typically float around in my head, but that I was too afraid to ask about. Thankfully each appointment turned out well,  and I'm fine. But it was about two or so months of worry and sometimes panicked feelings before each appointment or when waiting for test results. In the end I actually don't feel much less anxious, and in fact it spawned new, random things to worry about, but I am proud of myself for facing things head-on, and I am vowing to do this all over again next fall.

Oh! And one more difficult but good resolution I faced this year - exercise! I actually, unbelievably, got into an exercise routine. I'm still hitting the treadmill almost everyday and have no intention of stopping. I feel stronger, more energy, and it helps with the worry! Here's to 2014 on the....um...treadmill!

Ok, enough with all of that 2013 stress-downer stuff, (although retrospection is important) but now it's time for....................................POSITIVITY!!!!!!

(I wish I knew who to attribute this graphic to because it is awesome.)

I need to tell what having crazy gray hair has taught me this year. You wouldn't think that simply changing your hair color would also change who you are! But it did! First though, I want to acknowledge all of the GOOD and POSITIVE things that have happened this year. Things that I'm so so thankful for. First you have the standards: I'm incredibly grateful for the health and happiness of family, my friends and myself! We've been so happy in our little, cozy house and I can't believe that we've already been here for two years. The backyard is our own oasis that I look out at every single day and feel appreciative for. The bird-watching and the random animal watching has definitely been a highlight. Our cats Hector and Willow are happy and healthy. We have a group of the most loving, caring, supportive and incredible friends. I thank my lucky stars over and over for my family and my life the way it is. All this goodness in 2013!

AND.....guess what one of the happiest, most amazing things of 2013 has been!?                                                       

YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!

Yep! It's YOU my sweet, caring, wonderful readers who have come into my life and have made such a positive impact. You make me smile broadly and most of all, you reminded me that I'm not alone in this big old world.  I'm thankful for all of your kind comments and the letters that pop up in my inbox almost every single day. I've made so many lovely new friends, and it's incredible to have a community of "silver sisters".  It's not easy being gray! :)

Because of you, I've now been getting roughly 20,000 unique visitors to How Bourgeois each month! Something I would have NEVER thought would happen just a year ago. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and for connecting, and for all of the from the heart- felt words and encouragement. It means more than I could ever say!!! So.......................................









I really really mean it.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing some great stuff to 2013! :)

Ok, so five things that having gray hair has taught me in 2013:

1.) It's ok to be yourself.  No, really it is!

If you want to be thirty-five with a head full of gray hair, or green hair, or walk around in purple rubber boots everyday for nine months straight, or if you prefer to stay home birdwatching instead being around people, THAT'S OK!

Having gray hair has taught me that there are times when you just need to do what is right for you, and as long as it's not hurting others, you don't have to give a moment's thought to what the nay-sayers think! In the grand scheme of things, you need to care for yourself, whether it's getting rid of the hair dye that you are allergic to, or pursuing a new career or a healthier relationship or whatever! It's all much more important than letting the negative or possibly negative reactions of others stop you from being the most balanced you.

2.) You don't need to be a people pleaser anymore.

I'm still working on it, but I used to to say "sorry" over and over and over.  It was almost compulsive. I'd say something, think it was a stupid statement and finish it with "sorry!" I'd give a gift, worry it wasn't the right one and say "sorry, I hope it's ok!" I'd say "sorry" when people would hold doors for me, and "sorry" to people in line behind me at stores when I would stop to put my wallet back in my purse before wheeling the cart away. I EVEN found myself saying "sorry!" to end-caps in Target when I would accidentally clip them with my basket. That's kind of when I knew it needed to stop. My friends had always told me to stop saying "sorry", and they were right.  The problem was..... I was a hopeless people pleaser............

What "sorry" really means is "please don't dislike me." It means "I'm sorry for being what I perceive is a burden to you, but please don't hate me." Crazy, I know, but also very real for many women. I don't know where it came from, but I have a guess. It was probably a long time in the making.

People pleasing is much more complicated than just saying "sorry" on auto-repeat. It means not being able to say "no" to ANYTHING. It means, in a ridiculous way, actually coming up with obligations YOURSELF that you WISH you could say "no" to at the moment, just because you think the other person would be offended if you didn't ask them!  For example, during a total busy, hectic week you run into an old friend: "Hey! So-and-so, it's great to see you again. Yeah, we should connect more often....yeah....ok....how about Thursday?"  And it's just because I don't want them to think that I don't like them. Which, really makes no sense, because the proper thing to do would be to put out the invite when I REALLY had the time to meet. I love them, but I am too busy, but I don't want them to hate me. It's a vicious cycle.......

It's also forcing yourself to say "yes" to every volunteer opportunity that comes your way. Every party invitation, coffee invitation, request for help, phone call, email and text. I mean OF COURSE it's good and IMPORTANT to help where and when you can, but to always do it, even when it's stressful or difficult, that's not healthy. That's being a people pleaser who's afraid to say no. Or sometimes, like I used to be, some people don't really even know HOW to say "no"!

Btw - I found this AMAZING info graphic on how and when to say "no". I think it's helpful. maybe you will too! I came across it on Pinterest and it is from Live Like You're Rich. Thank you Anita from LLYR, you've just changed my life for the better! :)


So having gray hair taught me that I don't need to be such an exhaustive people pleaser anymore. When  I first decided to go gray I got a lot of "Are you sure?" from well-meaning friends and family and even society. The pleaser in me wanted to continue to use hair dye and henna, so as not to not upset anyone, but soon I realized that even when I went out on a limb and took care of myself, everybody still loved me just the same. Your real friends and family will still be there for you, and will still care. Nobody expects you to live for them all the time. (Well, except for your children!) ;)  It's ok to let the need to please go.

#3.) Life is too short for the energy vampires. We need to hang with the cheerleaders!!!!

Do you know what I found when I decided to grow out my gray hair? The most, I mean THE MOST supportive, positive groups of caring people out there. I joined some websites and online communities like Gray & Proud on Facebook to meet other people who were navigating this whole gray hair thing, in hopes of finding some insight and tips. What I found was way more than just that, I found incredible positivity and support through community! 

No matter what type of community you are looking for, this level of kindness and encouragement is out there. It made me think about all of the relationships in my life, and whether I typically came away from each feeling positive or feeling drained. Thankfully only a few people that I could think of regularly made me question myself or feel worse than when we started talking. 

So what does this mean? Life is too full of potential and wonderful things and wonderful PEOPLE to spend your precious time with those who would pull you down. If there is someone in your life who's this way time and time again, and you've earnestly talked with them, and things still never change..... I truly believe that at that point it's OK to take a step back or quietly walk away.

This is really difficult, but having gray hair taught me that life can be full of so much positivity, that you don't have to weigh yourself down with the negativity anymore. 

#4.) Do yourself a favor and learn to like YOU.  It'll be a lot easier in the long run.

When I was a little girl, from first grade all the way through high school, and even at times in college, I was made fun of. Four eyes, cry baby, nerd and then starting in 5th grade or so....fatso and splat the wonder whale. (By the way,  I was WAY thinner back then, so sheesh!) My Dad was a perfectionist, and I took it upon myself to always worry whether my teeth looked straight enough or white enough. If my skin was nice or if I looked too fat in my clothes. My Mom weighed 113lbs, so there came a time when I could never compete. 

The taunts were relentless. Almost everyday, in the school halls, the classroom, the playground. It was very hard. You'd hope to dodge the meanest kids, you learn the safer "routes" to class. You avoid the bathrooms. You try not to cry when they laugh and point and call you mean names. You get good at pretending to ignore their chants when you ride past on your bike.

I've always felt sub-par in the looks department. I've always felt homely, always wished that  I just looked like everyone else. Why couldn't I be naturally thin? Why can't I just be a little taller?  And most recently, why can't I just have normal colored hair like everybody else!? 

For a time, I felt extra down on myself about my looks. It was especially bad after the the last of a bajillion "natural" hair dyes that gave me an allergic reaction and I had to turn to henna. Henna is pretty cool stuff, but you go around smelling like mud and grass for days after applying the goopey mess, and even if you use the darker, less red, more indigo heavy henna, after two years of use, you'll end up with intensely red hair, whether you want it or not. The worst part was that I had tri-colored hair, white roots, red hair and dark brown tips from the old dye. I felt so ugly and odd looking. One day we went to a children's birthday party and one of the parents asked me why I had three colored hair? I didn't know what to say! And then, the following week I was taking Noah to the pool and the grandfather who worked behind the front desk said something to similar effect. My self-esteem was at rock bottom.

BUT.....the only place to go when you're at the bottom is up! So I surrendered and just went with it, the gray hair that is. The short hair cut that followed took some getting used to. (You don't have to cut your hair. It's an option). Sooner or later though, it was OK. The gray color wasn't the worst. It was better than the henna. And then as it grew past my ears and I could style my hair a bit, it was better. Until one day, to my complete and utter SHOCK, I looked in the mirror and actually kind of, a little bit liked my hair. I mean, I was alright with it, and FINALLY I was able to sigh a breath of relief.

Gray hair has taught me that learning to surrender and like who you are, is MUCH easier than hating yourself for years.  So now I'm like, yeah, whatever, who cares. I'm cool with me. I don't worry quite as much as to whether or not I stack up. I also cared about myself enough to start exercising, and it was NOT to lose weight, but to get healthy and strong. It's true what they say, learn to like yourself first and other things will follow.

#5. It's much more fun and relaxing to stay home on New Years Eve composing a blog post by the fire and building things out of legos with your family and drinking coffee and eating cupcakes than going out to party.

This one is just self-explanatory. Duh.

***********************************

So how does all of this translate to 2014? This is going to be the year that I don't apologize for being who I am.  I'm not going to be embarrassed that I have gray hair. I'm not going to feel guilty that I'm an introvert who would rather not be too social (this one I struggle with to no end). I am going to be OK with not answering every call and text and email right away...or ever. Or, I might just turn my phone off and not check my inbox all the time, because living like it's 1980 is my FANTASY.

I'm weeding out the extra things that stress me out or bring me down, to make more time for positive and healthy new stuff, like more time for exercise and less interruptions during the day (please universe, send me that) so I can get my houseWORK and errands and cooking done.  FLYLADY, Monday, January 6th, here I come!!!! A week of un-interrupted "flying" is only like my biggest DREAM!!! LOL.

I'm not going to ask people for approval who I know will rarely approve. I'm just going to trust myself! :) I'm going to work hard to be a caring person and a supportive person. To work on not being judgmental. I want to learn how to become more patient and how to slow down and relax! I'm going to continue seeking mindfulness and understanding. I want to conquer my worries.

Most of all though, I'm just grateful to have 2014 as another year of new potential and new beginnings.  I'm wishing all of you the same and the most heart-felt and full of gratitude HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

With Lots and Lots of Love,

xoxoxoxoxoxoox,
Lauren 















51 comments :

jspatz1065 said...

Happy New Year Lauren! I'm glad to have found you here on your page and now on the G & P. It's so nice to know that none of us are really alone.... You are an inspiration and so perfectly human! So here's to us....all who are working through our "gray" moments whether hair related or life related.... We are going to ROCK 2014!!!!

Lisa said...

Happy New Year Lauren! I love your blog, and I think you are a beautiful person inside and out - keep up the good work!

Lauren said...

Hi jspatz1065 and Lisa!!!!

Love to you guys too, and a very Happy New Year!!! I feel so lucky to have friends in my life. Here's to a wonderful 2014!!!! Have a great day today!!! :)
xoxoxoxoxoxo

Vanessa said...

Eu queria escrever em inglês, mas o google tradutor não me ajudou muito, então peço desculpas por escrever em português.
Lauren, eu amei o seu blog! Eu amei você (você é MUITO bonita e o seu cabelo é especialmente lindo), o seu estilo, o seu capricho em tudo o que faz, a sua auto-confiança. Você me ajudou muito, muito, muito. Tenho cabelos brancos desde os 13 anos e sempre pintei para escondê-los. Recentemente decidi não pintar mais os meus fios prateados, estou cansada de tinturas. O seu relato me ajudou a tomar esta decisão e eu agradeço tanto você por isso... Muito obrigada!!!
Vou acompanhar suas atualizações sempre!
Beijos do Brasil ;-)
Vanessa

Lauren said...

Hi Vanessa!!!!

Happy New Year!!! Thank you so much , what a sweet comment. I'm so glad that you are here! <3
I wish that I could write you in Portugese, but I will paste what I can from Google Translate below. I'm sorry that you've had to use dye for so long, but I hope your new journey to gray hair is great! I'm here for you, we all are. Here's to a new year and new beginnings! Thank you again Vanessa. So nice to meet you!!!! xoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)

Feliz Ano Novo! Muito obrigado, o que é um comentário doce. Estou tão feliz que você está aqui! <3
Eu desejo que eu poderia escrever em português, mas vou colar o que puder do Google Translate abaixo. Sinto muito que você teve que usar corante por tanto tempo, mas eu espero que a sua nova jornada para cabelos grisalhos é ótimo! Eu estou aqui para você, todos nós somos. Aqui é para um novo ano e um novo começo! Obrigado mais uma vez Vanessa. So nice to meet you!! xoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)

>>I wanted to write in English, but the google translator did not help me much, so I apologize for writing in Portuguese.
Lauren, I love your blog! I loved you (you're VERY pretty and your hair is especially gorgeous), your style, your whimsy in everything you do, your self-confidence. You helped me very very much. I have white hair since 13 years and always painted to hide them. I recently decided not to paint over my silver threads, I'm tired of dyes. Your story helped me make this decision and I thank you so much ... Thank you!
I will always follow your updates!
Kisses from Brazil;-)
Vanessa<<

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Shannon said...

Thank you.

Lauren said...

You're so welcome Shannon, but thank YOU for taking the time to stop by and read! xo Lauren :)

Anonymous said...

Hello! I found your blog when I was making the decision to let my gray shine through! You are beautiful! I have enjoyed your quirkiness, your bird stories (love my birds too!), and how you keep everything real.
Congratulations and happy new year!

D from Austin

Lauren said...


Hiya D. from Austin!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to meet you! I'm so excited to have a fellow birder here. I was just snapping some new pictures today!
Thank you for your kindness. I'm always so happy to make a new silver sister friend!
xoxoxox,
Lauren <3

Anonymous said...

Great blog entry! People who have never read your blog but only have seen photos of you on the internet would think you are an uber confident, trail-blazing, beautiful model. But you are another vulnerable person with the same hang-ups, insecurities, anxieties, and scars of childhood trauma as many of the rest of us.

Thanks for sharing. I feel you.

Oh and that thing about fearing for your health/ safety..besides adequate vigilance such as buckling up your seatbelt, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your cell phone in the glove compartment when you drive, you cant escape what is going to happen. So one day at a time - living worry free. If the "whatever" attitude is hard come by, a couple of glasses of Apothic Red should do the trick...and hey, its good for you! ;)

RWK

Lauren said...

Ha! RWK - you are SO right! Maybe I should take up drinking more red wine!!!! ;)
I like that advice!

Thank you so much for all of your cheerleading and support. Im very grateful for it! Oh yes, I am completely a personal with all the insecurities and worries. That picture I posted without the smile is not me at all. It makes me look WAY more confident than I really am. LOL.

I appreciate your gentleness and insight. So glad that you're here!
xoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)

Crystal said...

I loved reading this. Not only do I feel like I can empathize with your gray journey and everything else you wrote. Thank you for being willing to voice what so many need to hear. It feels good to know that such a fabulously tressed gal is also very relatable. Happy New Year!

Crystal said...

I loved reading this. Not only do I feel like I can empathize with your gray journey, but also with everything else you wrote about (yes, even apologizing to inanimate objects!). Thank you for being willing to voice what so many need to hear. It feels good to know that such a fabulously tressed gal is also very relatable. Happy New Year!

Lauren said...

Hi Crystal, thank you! It's soooo nice to know that I'm not alone. I have a lot of nice friends to talk about the gray with, but I really need some "worry friends" who apologize to end caps in Target too! ;)
xoxoxoxoxoxo!!!!
Happy New Year!!!!

Lauren

Amy said...

Once again so captivated by your words that seem to be the same ones that swim around my head. ;) Here is to the year of "eliminate and concentrate" at least that is my mantra. Eliminate the clutter (material and mental) and concentrate on what is truly important - family, TRUE friends and ME!

Lauren said...

Hi Amy!!! Ooooh I LOVE that! "Eliminate & Concentrate!" What a GREAT mantra. Thank so much for your comment and for sharing. Happy 2014 to you. Wishing lots of happiness and success! :)

H. said...

I also found you on Google, randomly, but then learned you're part of Gray and Proud on FB (so am I). You're beautiful, sensitive and you sound super sweet. Much love to you and blessings for 2014!

Lauren said...

Dear H.

Thank you so very much. Isn't Gray & Proud great!?
Much love to you and a Happy New Year!
xoxoxo

emblas-kanel said...

Thank you for your lovely blog. I am three months in my transition to silver hair. I was thinking about stop dying, but when I found your blog, read your story, saw your pictures I decided to stop dying.
For inspiration on my pinterest (evhaha) I made a board (amazing gray hair) and your picture is one of the most repinned to other boards.
I wish you a happy new year. Eva from Norway

Y SS said...

Hi Lauren! Happy New Year to you & your family! I returned to your blog and saw the 5 things gray hair taught you. I think that my grey hair has taught me similar things, like it's ok to be me, but I have not yet to master them! I guess they will be added to my new year resolutions! You are like an online cheerleader to me. Thanks for your openness.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

Hi there Eva!

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that I could help out a bit. Congratulations on already being three months into your transition. I really think you're going to like you hair more and more! :)
Thank you for sharing my picture on Pinterest. I love Pinterest so much. I will go see your page!
Thank you very much again. I appreciate your kind words!
xoxox,
Lauren :)

Lauren said...

Happy Happy New Year Y SS!

I'm so happy you've come back for a read! Oh yes, it is difficult to master some of these things. I;m still learning myself. Never give up though! It's is a learning process. :)
Thank you for your thoughtful comment and your kind words. I really do appreciate them.
Take care!!!!
Lauren xoxoxo

Anita said...

Hi Lauren! The first thing I thought when I hit your blog was how beautiful you are!

My husband is Navajo and gray hair is really revered in his culture. It represents wisdom, a good life, and it also demands respect.

Thanks for sharing my infographic. It totally made my day that it helped and that you are sharing it! (I found you on google analytics when a few people have come to my site from yours). Thank you!

I really related to this post and that is why i'm working on not trying to people please so much either!

Also, I just wanted to share with you the most amazing book that I read 17 years ago and have thought about it pretty much every single day since. It will show you how wonderful it is to be an introvert. Honestly, introverts are just the coolest people out there in my opinion and you shouldn't seek to change that. It's called: Please understand me II by David Keirsey and it is AWESOME! I'm planing on doing a blog post on it soon because understanding your own temperament brings so much joy and acceptance into life!

Anyway, I love your blog. thanks again for the share and have a Happy New Year!
Anita

Lauren said...

Hi Anita!!!!!

Oh you are so sweet and kind to write such a thoughtful comment. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to do that. I hope that you don't mind that I posted your graphic on my blog. It was just LIFE CHANGING ! I love it!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I have already used your guide SEVERAL times to make decisions. Really, thank for your caring and helping of others. Your site is WONDERFUL. You're a beautiful person both inside and out! <3
I just went and put "Please understand me" on my Amazon wish list. It looks PERFECT! I'd love to read. I'm going to check our library first, right away. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am following Live Like You're Rich, so I'll keep an eye out for any future introvert posts. :)
Happy New Year to you and your sweet, little family. (I'm a Mama to a one son as well!) Denali is just adorable.
So nice to meet you and thank you again!
xoxoxoxox,
Lauren

S.A. Molteni said...

I absolutely love your blog!
The first attempt to go gray was pretty funny. I wrote a short story about it - http://midlifecollage.com/2014/01/fade-to-gray/.
I am seven months into a second attempt to fade to gray. This time around, I am sporting the "skunk stripe" very proudly.
Hope you have a wonderful 2014.

Lauren said...

S.A. Molteni!!!! Hi!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I loved your post! It had me feeling every kind of emotion though, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about the outcome!!!!

Oh S.A., sometimes it can be SO hard to find a supportive , pro-gray stylist. I just lucked out. I suppose though, like your stylist, having return clients and clients using dye is their livelihood.

I am over-the-moon happy for you, that's you're ok with sporting that skunk stripe! :) I know it is one of the hardest things ever, to let the stripe show, but I personally think it's the best and fastest way to "fade to gray". No up-keep with low lights or highlights, straight forward growing time AND you end up with THE MOST healthy hair ever!!! It's so nice. Yay!!! :)

I will be following your story! I can't wait to hear about the end results. Congrats to being more than well on your way!!!
xoxoxooxo,
Lauren :)

Lauren said...

S.A. Molteni!!!! Hi!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I loved your post! It had me feeling every kind of emotion though, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about the outcome!!!!

Oh S.A., sometimes it can be SO hard to find a supportive , pro-gray stylist. I just lucked out. I suppose though, like your stylist, having return clients and clients using dye is their livelihood.

I am over-the-moon happy for you, that's you're ok with sporting that skunk stripe! :) I know it is one of the hardest things ever, to let the stripe show, but I personally think it's the best and fastest way to "fade to gray". No up-keep with low lights or highlights, straight forward growing time AND you end up with THE MOST healthy hair ever!!! It's so nice. Yay!!! :)

I will be following your story! I can't wait to hear about the end results. Congrats to being more than well on your way!!!
xoxoxooxo,
Lauren :)

Alexandra from Life on a Canadian Island said...

Happy New Year!
I came across your blog through Pinterest and boy I am so glad I did!
I love meeting others that have embraced their natural grey hair!!
Plus you are a really fun/cool/awesome sounding person too.
Hi :)

Lauren said...

Hi Alexandra!!!

Oh wow, thanks for stopping by, all the way from PEI!!! That is SO cool! I just took a look at your site and I am very excited to read more. I subscribed with my blog reader and can't wait to follow along. You must have so many amazing and beautiful adventures.

Your grays looks BEAUTIFUL! I'm always happy to meet fellow silver sister too . Thank you for pinning my pin, and thank you again for taking the time to write.
xoxoxoxooxoxox,
Lauren :)

Pamela Caldwell said...

Hello Lauren this is very well written enjoyed every word.
I can relate to so many things you have talked about brought tears to my eyes.. I was that Sorry for everything person also not anymore took a while. I also seen how it made our Daughter the same way. Going Grey is a spiritual journey also teaches you what's really important. Your such a excellent writer you should write a book.. Glad you have some new ideas for yourself in 2014 if you don't take care of You... You can't take care of the ones around you
Happy new year!!!!

Lauren said...

Hi Pamela!

What a great comment. I LOVE what you said: " if you don't take care of You... You can't take care of the ones around you." It's true! And yes, going gray is a spiritual journey, isn't it? I only wish I had done it sooner. Thank you for your encouragement and positivity Pamela!!!!
xoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)

Anonymous said...

Wow love this site! I have toyed with letting my white come in for a few years. I have been coloring my hair for 30 years. I am tired of the white roots showing. I am so curious what my natural hair color looks like. I have 3 boys and they have never seen my real hair color. On a side note. I have heard when people go gray before age 40 that they may have thyroid issues. This happened to me. Also, if one's thyroid is off it can cause anxiety. This was in The Thyroid Solution book. I love your gorgeous hair. Your hair and eyes light up! You look very youthful and pretty.

Lulusma said...

Lauren,
I found your blog when searching for younger people letting their grays show. I'll turn 33 this month and have decided to stop dyeing, not because of an allergy but for more of a self-acceptance thing. I've struggled with low self-esteem since childhood and I want to love myself as I am and feel beautiful with my hair in its natural wavy/curly, thick, salt and pepper (I think that's the way it will look when it grows out).
I'm also a SAHM of one, worrier, and introvert. ;)
~Lulusma
http://www.pinterest.com/lulusma/

Lauren said...

Hi Anonymous with three sons! Yes! Yes! I was so concerned that my hair AND anxiety were a thyroid thing. It makes complete sense, doesn't it? So, I very recently went to my doctor and had her check my thyroid, which to my amazement came back normal. I know that there is some controversy about which Things they should test for Thyroid function, and what is a reasonable scale for normal. I think she was being careful to really check because of my hair. I can ask again, but truth be told, I have the EXACT hair color that my grandmother had when she was my age! My brother and cousins are also going gray as well. In my family on my Dad's side, many of us just prematurely gray. So, I am pretty sure it is genetic.
Thank you for caring enough to mention the thyroid connection though. I appreciate it!

I'm curious about what your natural hair color looks like too! :) I understand dying your hair for quite a while. I did too. You have to do what feels right for you! I do have to say, once I stopped the dye, the texture of my hair changed immensely. I was so surprised! You might not have the same problems that I had, but now my hair is just silkier. I used to struggle with dry hair and it being puffy. If that makes sense. Lol. Anyway, thank you again for your comment. I appreciate it! Take care!!!
xoxoxo,
Lauren

Lauren said...

Oh Lululsma,

My heart is going out to you. I feel like I understand what you are saying so much.
First off, you are BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you for adding your Pinterest link. I am Pinterest crazy myself! I just followed your boards. I'm on as well. There is a link to my Pinterest on the right hand side of my blog if you are interested.

I'm also an introverted SAHM with salt-and-pepper, wavy/curly hair! You might have seen the post, but I wrote before about how gray hair changed my curls etc. The point being, I just relate! :)

The self-esteem part and the confidence is so hard. I know. The crazy thing though....while I thought going gray in my 30's would hurt my self-esteem even more, it actually HELPED me learn to love myself for who I am (like you mentioned) AND it gave me more confidence! Really! I know this sounds backwards, but really really....the gray was transformative!

I'm here for you Lulusma! Ok! We all are. It's so nice to show the real you to the world. And, as a bonus, no more root touch-ups! ;)

Thank you for taking the time to comment. See ya around Pinterest!!!
xoxoxoxoxoxox,
Lauren :)

Hyla said...

I'm beginning my own gray journey in 2014 and so GRATEFUL to mariniate in your story... to learn, connects, and find support. I vow to ROCK the gray! Self-acceptance, confidence, rebellion from the social norm, and smokin' hot silver hair is going to be epic!! Cheers!

Lauren said...

Hiya Hyla!!!!!

WOO HOOO!!!!! Congratulations on your newest journey. You WILL have some smoking' grays!!! :)
I hope this ends up being as interesting an experience for you as it has been for me, AND with the new found confidence. GO YOU!!!!!
Thanks for stopping by and a BIG WELCOME HYLA! :)
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox,
Lauren

Buffie Larocca said...

I want to thank you for all your oh so needed inspiration. I'm going grey, going simple, and taking it all a day at a time! I would list all the almost creepy similarities I have with you, but I would risk seeming like Single White Female ( with greys). Keep writing, I may even start my own blog as soon as I get over my health anxiety and my only son starts school! Big Thanks Again!
Buffie LaRocca

Oona said...

Thank you so much Lauren! Just when I was resigned into letting the hairdresser bully me into dyeing again I happened upon your page and saw that there are plenty of other options. Your hair looks just gorgeous btw - obviously it helps when you're cute and young ;-)
It's great that there seems to be this whole "going grey" community thing going on too! (It makes me feel like I'm not alone in this!)

Anonymous said...

It's so odd, and sad, to read your comments regarding your feelings about your appearance.

I've been getting quite sick of the constant battle to keep the skunk stripe at bay and have been reading everything on the internet for inspiration and advice on how to stop the madness. Your "going gray" post is one of the very best and most encouraging I've found.

However, I still find myself thinking, "Well, if I were as beautiful as her it would be a no brainer to stop dying. I might even consider the short hair step." But I'm not. Beautiful, that is, like you. And I'm much older. So, I know damn well I won't be as happy with my results as you have every right to be with yours.

Still, thanks to your enthusiasm, I'm getting closer and closer to freedom from the henna habit. (Well, actually, I use demi-permanent dyes, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.)

I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. I think you're adorable both physically and spiritually, and If I kick the habit and end up looking even a small fraction of how great you do, I shall be very pleased indeed.

-Sarah

Heather Renee Nguyen said...

Hi Lauren!

I've been coming to your website, off an on, since around the middle of last year or so. I'm 38 and have quite a bit of white hairs (maybe 30% or so, it's hard to tell, under all of this henna). I got my first grey at 21 and that's when I decided to stay dying my hair regularly. I am a natural blonde and right now, from just looking at my roots, it's dark blonde with white hairs mixed in.

I've been toying with the idea of letting my natural hair color grow in for two reasons: 1.) It seems like I have to touch up my roots, more and more often lately...like every 2 or 3 weeks, at the longest and I hate having to worry about roots. And 2.) While I LOVE the beautiful color of red that I get with henna (and all of my friends and family love it too, including my husband), I don't feel completely authentic because I'm not naturally a redhead. Also, I think I'll feel bad if I wait so long that my natural tones are completely gone and I'm left with pure white hair, not that white wouldn't be gorgeous, but I just want to enjoy the last bits of my natural color that I have left. Plus, the idea of aging gracefully appeals to me. And it would be nice to not have to worry about the color of my hair! So, I am happy that I've been using henna (no more chemicals and it's made my hair stronger and healthier and added shine and allowed me to grow out my hair), but I miss my blonde and I want to be authentic.

So anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your website and blog and to let you know that you've been very encouraging and real and it's really helping me in my decision to grow out my hair. I might end up using cassia with a teaspoon or two of henna on my roots, as they grow out, so that I don't have such a stark contrast between the whites and the red henna, but I might eventually cut out the dye all together. I'm just thankful I have the option of using healthy plant dyes that work well. :)

xoxo!!
Heather

Lauren said...

Hi Heather!!!

Oh you are so welcome. I'm glad that you're here! And that we can inspire each other! :)
Thank you for sharing your story. You know, there are so many similarities between your story and mine! I completely understand what you are saying. I used henna for two years. It's a great thing, isn't it!? I guess in the end, my hair just started to turn a more vibrant shade of red than I had intended. Everbody's hair is different though, so it might have just been my dry hair. In the end when i did give up the dye and then the henna, oh my gosh, it was soooooooo nice not to have to worry about my root touch ups every 3-4 weeks. It was great. If you have any questions, I'm always here. Sending you lots of awesome hair cheer!!!!
xoxoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren

Heather Renee Nguyen said...

Hi Lauren,

Thanks so much for responding to my comment! :) You really are in inspiration to so many women!! I don't know why it's so scary to grow out grey. I guess I'm just partially afraid that I won't like it, but then I think well, if I don't like it, I can always use henna again. But if I don't at least TRY it, I'll probably always wonder what it would be like! Soooo, I'm thinking I should just try it. I think I'm gonna try the cassia thing first though, with just a tad bit of henna, to make the demarcation line less noticeable.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement. I might be emailing you for tips! ;)

Heather :)

Lauren said...

Hi Heather! My thoughts exactly...the cool thing about gray is that you can always try it, and if you don't like it, your can go back to henna or dye!

One thing to note, I have never met anybody who liked their gray when it was just a 2" wide stripe. The gray that you see when it first grows in, is wildly different then how you will look when it's funny grown in. Well, obviously, but the point is, I feel like with gray, you really need to give it a while to picture the "end product."

It's not easy, but if you can just push through the early months, it's so much easier after that!!! :)

I'm excited for you Heather and so glad that we've met! Lots of luck to you. Hope you have a lovely week!!! xoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)

Heather Renee Nguyen said...

Hi Lauren,

Yes, what you are saying, makes sense!! It's hard to tell what it'll look like with just an inch or two showing! Maybe I should make use of my hats and buy a few more (I'm a hat girl, so I don't mind wearing hats everyday, if I have to. That's how I grew out a pixie cut once). I also love hair scarves!

Thanks, I'm happy we've met too! :) Enjoy the rest of your week!! :)

Heather

Zheni said...

Hi Lauren - I have really enjoyed your posts, which cheer me up on iffy days as I grow out my gorgeous silver hair. My problem is the icky old blonde that I want gone. My husband, unfortunately, is afraid I'll look masculine ((sigh)), and as he is being pretty nice about the silver hair, I want to consider his feelings. Still, I think I'm going to chop it anyway!

I am writing because I was struck by these overlaps with my experience:

Premature gray
Anxiety

Not to amp up your hypochondria, but I also had these in spades. My anxiety was inexplicably through the roof. I won't even go into the embarrassing details. I thought it was psychological, and I blamed it on getting older, having children, you name it.

Then I found out I had a very, very sick thyroid from years of inflammation (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmuine issue, possibly related to gluten/gut issues). The regular thyroid tests were normal, since the little tiny bit of healthy thyroid remaining was working hard for me. It is the thryoid antibodies you need to test. Mine were very high.

Ultimately, I had my thyroid out, though this is not the norm (I had other issues with it). Immediately, and I mean instantly, my paranoid, over the top anxiety vanished. And this made no real sense, since my health was suffering, I had serious surgery, and lots of marital issues unraveling at this time. Still, I suddenly was able to sleep at night, and not obsess as much. What a relief! I have since learned that anxiety and thyroid problems often do go together.

Since that time, my health has improved a lot, I am happier, and more at peace. I also went gluten free, and cut out a processed food, etc. I take a thyroid pill and life is great. Marriage is better than ever since I'm no longer a raving nutcase or depressed, and I feel amazing.

I have read there is a connection between going white and thyroid issues, so thought I'd throw that out there for you just in case!

Thank you again for all your great blog posts!

Zheni

Lauren said...

Hi Zheni!!!!!!

Oh my gosh! Your story is incredible! I am thrilled and so happy to hear about your the great outcome with your anxiety! I'm very sorry about your thyroid and the surgery, but it sounds like the ending was quite quite happy! \(^-^)/

Thank you, thank you so much for letting me know. I appreciate it greatly. I have read about the premature gray/thyroid connection. I've spoken about it with my doctor before and have had quite a few recent thyroid tests. I'm trying to remember though, if they also test my antibodies. I go in for my yearly physical in less than a month, so I will definitely ask then!

Premature gray does run on my father's side of the family, and my brother is prematurely gray, so it was not a big surprise. Also anxiety runs in my family too. But, I am going to ask about the antibodies. Thank you! Oh! And I was 100% gluten-free for about a year and a half. It's great! I might have a small sensitivity to gluten. It became difficult to feed myself and my family GF food that everyone would eat, it was a hard choice to go back to eating some gluten. When I slowly re-introduced it after a long time, and did not have symptoms, I decided it was ok. BUT....I feel like being gluten -free is definitely ideal. :)

I'm so glad that the blog has been able to help you as you grow out your gray hair. Thank you for telling me. It makes me happy. I was worrying about cutting my reddish-brown ends off because I thought my hair cut would be too masculine. I cut it anyway. (So follow your heart!) The cut was masculine, and I wasn't a huge fan, but it was only temporary and got off all of the old ends, which made me happy! :)
That's the great thing with hair, no change is really permanent.

Thanks again Zheni. Your information is so important. So much luck to you. I hope you love your finished look once everything is grown out as much as I do. Gray can be great!

xoxoxoxo,
Lauren

maureen said...

I'm 34 and have had gray hair since I was 24. Premature gray hair runs rampant on my dad's mom's side of the family so I'm not surprised. I struggled with dyeing it for so long but I also have auto immune disorder with psoriasis of the scalp being a side effect. And of course Dyeing causes some irritation sometimes. I JUST decided yesterday that I'm not dyeing my hair anymore. I had my box all ready and waiting (I have a stock pile in the bathroom so I never miss a day.) and I just REALLY didn't want to do it. I LOVE being a brunette with curly q hair but I'm thinking it may be time to let that go a little lol.

I did a random pinterest search for gray hair care and premature gray.. and your blog was the first thing to catch my eye. I've read a few of your entries and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience. You and your hair are both beautiful. and it's nice to see someone else embrace it. Between you're blog and my thinking about having bright colored dipped gray hair has swayed me to the dark side! So, thank you. I'll definitely be following you on Instagram!:)

Lauren said...

\(^-^)/ Hiiiiii Maureen!!!!!!!!!

It's super nice to meet you! A fellow premature gray. I'm so sorry, I know how hard this can be. It's an emotional decision, right!? I also went gray in my early 20's, and just like you, exactly, my Dad's Mom's side!!!! Hmmmmm.......

My heart goes out to you with how uncomfortable it must be to deal with irritation and reactions to the dye from your auto immune disorder and psoriasis. I'm so sorry. I was having allergic reactions and that's what finally made me stop around 33, 34. (So much in common!)

What I can tell you is this..... although it's scary to show the world your gray, especially at a young age, and the transition period can be hard, at least for me, it was worth it in the end. like, VERY worth it! No more reactions, no more yucky chemicals, or time spent coloring my hair. It's really nice not having to worry about my roots showing too, and my hair is much more healthy now!

If you feel like it's the right time for you, go for it Maureen!!!! :) You can do it!
And if you're not ready yet, that's ok too. We have to do things that are right for our own selves.

Thank you for taking the time to write. It's wonderful to meet you. Sending a hug and lots of luck!
xoxoxo