I was strapping Olivia into her carseat when she exclaimed. “You’re old! Your hair is gray. You should color it!” Her parents tried to shush her, telling her she wasn’t being nice. It astonished me that not yet seven years old, Olivia had already internalized society’s prejudice that to be old is not a good thing and gray hair is to be camouflaged.
I’m letting mine go gray. I want to see what I look like with it. Martin is not a fan. If I don’t like it, I can always color it again. I’ll never stop working on the inside, but for now I want to see the true outside.
After catching my breath, I told Olivia that old is not a bad thing and that these are my wisdom ribbons. In this game of life, I’ve won each one of them fair and square. I know my words went over her silky brown mane. Too abstract. But we could do with a bit more elder respect. Or at least buff away reflexive dismissal.
Next trip to my stylist I might even have her wave in a few glimmer strands. It’s kind of like tinsel for hair. Stay tuned.