According to my mom, I was born with one gray hair, which means that my relationship with my silver hair is not a novelty, I was born with it. My dad started showing some grays when he was 18 years old and I inherited this particular quality from him.
My relationship with my silver hair can be described as a lame “telenovela” (soap opera) filled with melodrama. From hate, to love. From rejection, to acceptance.
Women have asked me how is it that I decided to stop coloring my grays, so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to each and one of them with the only purpose of sharing a personal process that took over a decade to master. I don’t intend to convince them of doing what I did, this, is a personal decision.
From sexy to unkempt
My silvers started manifesting in numbers when I was 28 years old, just before moving to South Africa. When I got there, my new friends were calling me “sexy” and “silver fox”. A year later, a lady insisted on taking me to a salon to dye my hair, she thought, like most society does, that my look wasn’t sexy. I believed her so I started feeling ugly, old and unkempt.
From that day, I begun the most excruciating visits to the salon, where I not only lost hundreds of hours, but thousands of Mexican Pesos. I remember spending 6 hours in Port Elizabeth in a salon where the lady was struggling to cover my grays. The pain in my skull was so bad, that I still remember it and it was back in 2008!
Every single time, I made sure that my father knew about the hours lost, the pain on my skull and the money wasted. Every time, I would give him a call and say: “you owe me thousands”. Now that I look back, not only have I apologized, but I also admire the fact that he listened patiently without telling me to “bugger off”. Today, I’m grateful for having his special mark, a mark that makes me who I am.
In the following picture, you’ll see me with dark hair. I colored it the day before because I was about to be filmed underwater by a National Geographic crew. The show, One Strange Rock.
The worst part of this, is that I spent long hours underwater, filming in MUSA, the Underwater Museum of Art, while polluting the corals that have grown on these sculptures. I even had a close encounter with an octopus for a few minutes and I am sure that all the chemicals in my head did some damage to my surroundings.
Two weeks after filming underwater, I decided to stop this nonsense. I felt a personal shame and I felt a liar. Here I was, speaking to children all over Mexico about looking after our Planet, while using toxic chemicals on myself twice a month, polluting my body, the aquifer, the ocean.
Proof of my personal shame but also awakening, here:
For more than 10 years I discarded:
480 plastic gloves.
240 plasticized carton boxes.
240 metal tubes with dye.
240 plastic containers with peroxide.
240 plastic bottles with post-dye conditioner.
One day, a cousin that I used to love like a brother, sent me a text message telling me something that, to this day, I consider it more an insult than an advice that I didn’t ask for. He said: “cousin, I’m going to tell you something not as your cousin, but as a man. You look like my mother with those grays. No man wants a woman with gray hair, you’ll never find a man looking like this”.
I could destroy these sentences into pieces, but let’s focus for now on my gray hair. By the way, I haven’t mentioned that one of my favorite animals on the Planet is the gray wolf, so there you go, I’m now the Mexican Gray Wolf.
My questions are: why are men “silver fox” and we women aren’t? why is a woman labeled and judged by her looks? why do we keep hurting each other with comments like this instead of accepting how we are? Specially when it comes to our own family members! I’m still looking for the answers.
And the comments kept coming, this time, from a niece who questioned my sexuality when I decided to cut my hair short with the only purpose of getting rid of the many colors and chemicals.
Mexican Gray Wolf
That’s me. Five years ago I made the wisest decision and I don’t regret it for a second. I defeated the toughest tests of society and, today, I walk proud. Babies stare at me with big smiles and many times I’ve been stopped by women who ask who colored my hair. My answer: “my dad”.
Finding or not a man wasn’t even in my mind when I decided to accept who I am. My decision was based in the love I feel for my inheritance, for my mom and dad, for my love to life and myself. It’s that simple. So please, let’s stop criticising others, ourselves. Stop being so hard on us. We’re capable of intoxicating our bodies to be socially approved, when it should’t be like this. Our bodies are precious!
Before I finish this blog, I would like to share the funniest thing that has ever happened to me since I stopped dyeing my hair. One Mother’s Day, I went to a nice restaurant to celebrate my friend’s mom. As some of you might now, I’ve never been married and I don’t have kids. So, there we were, 5 ladies waiting for the waiter, when suddenly he came with 3 special cocktails. One for each mom on the table. He placed the first glass in front of my friend’s mom. The second, on the other mother that was joining us, and the third, in front of me. They all turned their shocked eyes at me. As the waiter walked away, I laughed out loud, raised my glass, and said: “See? See why it’s quite convenient to have gray hair?… Cheers!”.