The fashion of young women and graying their hair has not pulled me in a direction of awe or dismay. Being in elementary with gray strands emerging has been a norm for me and not such a big deal. As I got older and my strands multiplied I began to become proud of my silvering. Most older women, cringe at the sight of their grays roots, because it represents for them, a youth that can never be held again. I see something different. Me being young and graying makes me feel powerful and complete.
Could the Cause Point to Stress
Men rarely complain about their hair graying. In fact, when men gray they are looked at as a sex symbol. Women, on the other hand, have tried for years to hide their gray roots. Women began to gray later than men, around the age of thirty-five.
But what is gray hair really? As a black woman, I can’t do enough at praising our melanin. The pigmentation of our skin is the root of our past and the wealth of our future. Gray hair is the loss of that melanin. In our community, we have heard that stress turns the hair gray. Well, studies are still trying to see if this is true. Nature America Inc did a study that was geared towards proving that this was true. Yet, for me, the study proved the physical stress and didn’t speak on the emotional or mental stress. So, the studies still continue. Stress just might not be the reason. But here is what I know.
- African American is the longest race to began graying.
- Gray hair is hereditary.
- Health problems and even alopecia can turn your hair gray.
- Smoking can gray your hair sooner.
Maturity and Wisdom
I don’t remember my great grandmother with any color hair other than silver. Even when I look at her younger pictures her hair was silver. I can’t remember my great grandmother without her presence demanding respect either. No yelling, or cursing, but her pure presence forced you to honor and praise her. In Africa gray hair does not represent you being old, but represents blessing, peace, and wisdom. And though plucking your gray strands may not grow it back double, it sure will damage your follicles to the point no hair might not grow at all!
Are we searching for a beauty that doesn’t reflect our own? Are we holding on to the present that holds us back from our future? Is young and graying an oxymoron? Or do we just like what we like?
Some people do not really hate aging; they merely love the colour black.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana