I Feel Beautiful

About year ago, I started thinking about no longer dyeing my hair. Having been gray since I was twenty-three years old, twenty years of dyeing was beginning to just wear me down. The thought stayed with me in a very light way. Being the naturalist that I am I started researching herbs and minerals that might help my hair return to its natural color. Surfing on the web I found a Chinese herb named He Shou Wu, which has its users boasting of health and a youthful appearance. I tried it for a few months, until it began to feel no different from dyeing my hair.

One day I was standing at the counter in a store, and I noticed that the woman behind the counter was probably about my age, forty something, with salt and pepper hair. She seemed completely at ease with herself, and I could detect no insecurity or unworthiness about the way she looked. I watched her closely until an energy of freedom jumped from her and onto me . In that moment I realized all the years of attempting to catch my gray and turn it another color felt like trying to stop a wild horse on the run. There was nothing I could do to change what I’m becoming, and I just decided to let my hair go gray.

After several months, I noticed the texture of my virgin hair felt very different from the hair that had been processed with color. The colored hair was dry and brittle, while the virgin hair was moist and supple. I also noticed that my hair was inexplicably thinning and breaking on the crown of my head, and I needed to address this. Off with my locks.

If any of this has been difficult, it’s been the reactions of some of my closest friends. The myths about beauty in our culture are deeply ingrained in most of us. I will admit I dyed my hair because I didn’t want to look old. Some of my friends have said things like “You’re too young to have gray hair,” or “I would never do it, because I’m too young.” I’ve held these notions too. But now I know that I’m not too old to have gray hair because I do have gray hair. After admitting that I had totally bought into an idea of what beauty and looking youthful is according to our society, I decided to define my beauty myself.

Everywhere I go people ask me how do I like my new short gray hair. I admit it, when I first saw myself at the salon with my hair cut off and white, I was shocked. I realized I didn’t feel like a girl and that scared me. But after a few days I started to realize I didn’t feel like a girl because I’m not a girl. I’m a woman.

I’m a grown, sensual, intelligent, self-realized woman who looks how I look. And I feel like a woman too. I know how to identify what matters to me and how to create it. I know how to ask for what I want. I know how to allow a man to make love to me without a need to perform. I know how to seduce a man and send him home after we’ve loved. I know how to be loved without being owned. I know how to compliment another woman and celebrate her beauty. I know how to share wisdom and knowledge with younger women and help them be free. I know I can bleed for an entire week without dying. I know how to do absolutely nothing while a human grows within me. I know I can provide life-sustaining nourishment from my breast. I know what I want without having it validated by another. I know how to laugh so hard I cry. I know how to pray and how to curse. I know how to forgive and how to forget. I know how to be with my inner darkness without cowering. I know my thoughts independent of those of another. I know how to take responsibility for my failures and how to share my successes. I know how to scream and cry really loud. I know how to stay and when to leave. I know how to hold a broken heart, my own or someone else’s. I know how to stand with a tree and feel the energy of eternity. I know how to love my body, mend my heart and love myself. I know how to worship the moon and receive life from the sun. I know how to find the Divine. I know I am beautiful.

For those who ask, how do I feel with my short white hair? I feel absolutely beautiful and more like a woman than ever before.

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