It was as unexpected as the pandemic- going gray I mean. I hadn’t planned on it. For 15 years I doused my hair with Clairol Natural Instincts # 4 dark brown. Just like not planning on going gray, I had not planned on ever coloring my hair in the first place. Then one day when I was 50 the lady at the pool counter asked if I wanted a senior pass.
I let my hair grow out, again unexpected, and unplanned. Closed salons meant getting a haircut was not possible. So after years of stylishly short hair, I now sport a mid-length gray mop.
I hardly recognize myself anymore but I barely recognize the world I live in of face masks, lockdowns, and a sobering death toll. I barely recognize this country after four years of political and social turmoil.
Gray is a color that is neither black nor white but something in between. It’s all gray now, a state of waiting, everything shrouded in a fog of uncertainty. When will I be vaccinated? When will this isolation end? When can I have my old life back?
In the matter of hair, gray signals more the end than the beginning. My graying head has become a personal symbol of my mortality but I’m not afraid of it. I’m going wild and just letting me be who I am without a care. Write, draw, scribble, sing loud- it’s all good.
When we can all talk about this era in the past tense and even laugh a little, I will remain gray. There’s no way I can go back. There’s no way we can go back. From inequity to racism too much has been exposed. There can be no more cover-ups.