All shades of grey and counting
How many grey strands do I have in my beard?
50 strands of grey that’s how many I counted from my beard before I stopped counting…… The thing about counting your greys…, you know how a witch’s spell is spelled, the way naming it makes it real, it is just like that.
From the day you look in the mirror and discover your first grey, then you pull at it, all nonchalant, thinking it’s a strand of linen or an errand fabric, that has no business on your person, only to discover it hurts when you pluck it (you never forget that day when you realise you are aging) and you count it ONE. You panic a bit and then eventually kid yourself into forgetting about it, that it was a special limited, one-time only freak of nature, a once-off.
Every morning you spend longer than you normally do, starring at your reflection not because you like the way you reflect….. and just when you relax and start to think, “Phew! Dodged that bullet”…. and then there were THREE and then NINE and then 27 progressing in some weird exponential curve increasing every time you count the grey ones…….
It’s all perfectly natural and happens to everyone at some point in time……. You age you get greys….. Except only when you get grey at a time way to early, I mean don’t we learn in biology 101 how you get grey as you age and die…. OH NO!!! Does this mean I am dying ?????Yes we are born then we die but in between all that, life happens..the thing is I am too young to die and too old to die young……..Its like having midlife crisis at half the age it normally happens… OMG quarter life crisis
I discovered my first grey(s) in my late teens when I was still struggling to grow the fuzz on my face that I called a beard….
I used to pluck out the greys with a tweezer, until I discovered that it is also like counting them, for every ONE you pluck a new crop of grey will pop up in an arithmetic progression that boggles the mind……. at that rate by Christmas my beard would have been so snow white, I could cast for Santa Claus minus the big tummy of course….
Suddenly other people notice it too….. It is so cute(
not) how someone will ask you “hey do you know your beard is grey?” Erm oh really I hadn’t noticed…… Or “How old are you…?” It is so hard not to be insecure when you are self-conscious about your “uniqueness”
And then someone introduced me to dye…. The beauty of synthetic colour…. For a while I had the vibrant rich colour as advertised on the pamphlet, but only for a week and some change and then would need to dye it again…. I was always careful not to swallow any dye, to avoid dyeing slowly on the inside you see… but I ruined more than one good tshirt with splashes of colour. This one time I accidentally dyed my beard a most curious shade of blue, the instructions on the bottle are in Chinese so, yeah that……. It was hilarious watching people trying super hard not to stare, stealing glances at me..
Ladies who never step outside without wearing make-up….. I get it now….
I even discovered a handy use for a mascara brush, well I think that’s what it`s called the one, some ladies use to brush out their eyebrows or is it eyelashes??, to look like maybe they were born with it….. anyhoo that brush is handy as a dye applicator especially when you are going for that pencil thin beard that looks like its painted on….
….But unfortunately just as the spell, as counting and as plucking, when the dye wears off, you wind up with even more grey (or maybe it seems that way). So eventually I took a leaf from page in my mum’s book….
My mum has had rich shiny Silver hair from the first day I became aware that this woman gave birth to me…
She embraced the genes she was created with and carries her uniqueness like an armour; small wonder, even now, some people actually ask her what dye or tint she uses because her hair is that striking, she laughs and always says “I was born with it.” Her hair started going grey when she was in her teens and I guess oh those genes passed on to me…..
I shave and I trim but I don’t dye it back, I walk around with wisps of grey on my chin and I feel sophisticated. There is an old wives tale about how if you start to go grey early, it is a sign that you will die, a wealthy man…. Some people do a double take and ask me my age and say “aren’t you too young to look that old” and I smile and say “I have wisdom far beyond my age, I am simply an old soul remembering all the things I forgot…..”
It’s still weird, when someone compliments me and asks what kind of dye I use on my beard, I am not used to being noticed I am normally a wallflower, watching, but am getting used to the shift from looking at, to being looked at…
Its my birthday today, I looked in the mirror and noticed I have way more grey than I used to but that’s ok, I’ll wear my grey like a badge the color of wisdom, I feel sophisticated ageing gracefully on my way to becoming ME
What is this, on my beard why that’s lil bits of wisdom far beyond my years.