I’m Already Going Gray But I Refuse To Dye My Hair

I was 24 and only a year into my teaching career when I found my first gray hair. Since then, many more have sprouted but it doesn’t worry me. I haven’t dyed them or tried to cover them up; instead, I’ve embraced them. here’s why:

  1. Aging is an incredible gift. Do you know what happened to our ancestors during the Middle Ages? They died young from the plague or any other number of horrible illnesses. The average lifespan at the time was just 31 years. If I’m lucky, I’m going to get to spend 70-100 years on this planet, which means I can create stories and memories for years to come. Ageing is a gift and it shouldn’t be feared because not everyone gets to do it. At the end of my life, I doubt not covering gray hairs is going to be something I regret.
  2. The most beautiful, brilliant women I know have gray hair. I remember when I first noticed my mother going gray. I loved the gray hairs that were scattered in with her beautiful brown hair. To this day, I still think she’s one of the most beautiful and intelligent women I know. Recently, I met one of my best friends at work. She’s a well-read, brilliant, thoughtful and beautiful human with gray hairs also throughout her gorgeous brown hair. They own their gray hair and I love it!
  3. Anderson Cooper and Jon Stewart. Need I say more? I’m still holding out hope that either one will want me to have their babies. Yes, I know Anderson is gay—maybe I can be a surrogate. Yes, I know Jon Stewart is happily married to his adorable wife—a girl can dream. These silver foxes have been rocking their gray hair for many years and they have always looked amazing. Can you picture our sweet, salt and pepper-haired babies? I can.
  4. It makes me, me. It’s just another one of those qualities that distinguish me from other people. I have imperfect teeth, gray hairs, and I’ll never be a size 2. You know what else? No one will ever look quite like me and that’s pretty incredible.
  5. Gray hair shows experience and wisdom. I love teaching more than anything in the world but it’s really hard. I work all the time; I care for 30 children for a full year and take on all their stresses and life problems. I’m exhausted. This kind of stress is most definitely the cause of a good majority of my gray hair. I could probably name a few gray hairs after specific students who caused me a lot of angst. I’ve also had many personal failures in my life that have caused a great deal of stress but I wouldn’t trade any of it. These experiences have made me who I am and they’ve left a permanent mark on me. In my mind, each gray hair tells a story about how I got to where I am now.
  6. Natural is beautiful. Some of my real-life role models are women who always seem effortlessly beautiful. Much of this has to do with who they are as people. Women who are unapologetically themselves and living their happiest, most fulfilling lives never seem to obsess over their beauty routines and yet, they’re always beautiful. I think this comes from having confidence in who you are and being at peace with what they look like. These are the women who are truly naturally beautiful and they inspire me.
  7. I’ll never have to fuss over my roots showing. For practical reasons, letting my gray hairs exist is a time and money saver. I’ll never have to worry about my roots showing and I’ll never have to fuss about making sure all my gray hairs are covered.
  8. I refuse to be shamed by advertising. There are millions of anti-aging products out there. They cater to every gender, race, and culture. Wrinkles? Gray hair at 30? There’s stuff out there that companies would claim can fix all your problems but I’m just not interested. I’m happy just the way I am, thanks.
  9. I want to be a positive influence on the young women I see every day. My 5th grade students are at the age where they’re starting to be self-conscious and trying to figure out who they are and want to be. They’re also still at that age where they love their teachers and are impressed by them. It’s my duty to make sure that my girls see an adult who has flaws and still loves herself despite them. It’s okay to have gray hairs at 30, it’s okay to weigh more than 120 pounds. You can still be beautiful—and more importantly, you can still be smart, fun, and have a great sense of humor. Those are the qualities I truly value.
Jessica Blake is a 5th grade teacher by day and writer at night. She is navigating the world one day at a time.