I made a momentous decision this week. I decided to stop colouring my hair and to allow it to become its natural colour again. The transition process is going to be a bit irksome but as they so, no pain, no gain! So I have had my lovely chin length bob cut off to a short bob/crop, which looks good in itself but is not quite ‘me’ now. Funny how our hair takes on such an expression of our identity. It is a great hair cut, Carla, my hairdresser is superb, but I feel that I have lost something of myself.
I have lost that youthful black bob, that style that seems to be my signature and that I have returned to again and again. I am losing the ‘darkest natural brown’ – a false colour which I tried to match to my own real youthful shade of black, chemical black being too stark and unnatural. I am losing the pretence of being youthful to grow into the authenticity of being a woman in her mid 40s who has done much, experienced life to the full, gained knowledge (all too often the hard way) and found a wisdom that youth simply cannot claim because she hasn’t been around long enough.
This is, I know, a transition of greater importance than just the colour of my hair. It is the transition from who I was as a younger woman – always striving, always needing to do better, always feeling that I fell short of my standards and my dreams, never quite good enough – to who I am now, a calmer, wiser, gentler woman. A woman whose strength comes from a different place, a place of peace and self love, a place of being loved, rather than a place of singular determination not to be defeated. Don’t get me wrong, that determination is still very much there but it comes from a place of inner power, rather than inner fear. It comes from aknowledge that I am good enough, rather than a fear that I’m not.
And that power seems to sit very nicely with silvery hair. Hair that no longer needs pigment to define it. Hair that defines itself by its stunning whiteness, its purity, its radiance. Hair that quietly reminds us that real beauty lies in its naturalness not its artifice, and that that is the beauty of age as well as of youth. My beautiful natural hair, I am so looking forward to meeting you. And I will grow you back into a sleek asymmetric bob, for it is still my signature style and as timeless as Chanel.
It is no coincidence that I have chosen to make this transition over the autumn and winter months. Autumn is a time of harvest but also a time of slowing down, of shedding, of preparation for the dormancy of winter. Winter, a time of death, hibernation, rest and preparation for the rebirth of spring. The rich vibrant browns and oranges of autumn turn to the brilliant, crisp and frosty whites of winter. What better metaphor could there be!
And so I am traversing these next few months, shedding, resting and preparing for a rebirth too; a rebirth of my hair and a rebirth of myself. Bring it on!