People were looking at me.
Or at least that’s the feeling I was getting when I arrived back to my hometown while on my annual summer family visit.
And I don’t think I was being self-conscious.
I really felt people were staring at me.
It began when I felt someone was looking at the top of my head.
(Did I have any lice up there that I didn’t know about?)
Then, I noticed more people looking up.
At my hair.
Which was uncovered from a scarf which I had been wearing for several years now for religious purposes.
And which now, uncovered, revealed my grey.
My hunches were confirmed when I overheard the five-year-old son of my brother asked out loud in a very uninhibited way, “Why does Shira’s hair look different from everyone else’s?”
And, when I relayed (what I thought was a funny account) to my other sibling, she admitted that her teenage son had also asked a similar question.
Yet, his was more direct and conclusive.
And her response was: Well, most older people do.
They just cover it with color, so you don’t see it.
And, hence, you don’t even know.
So, yikes! Yes.
My hunches were true!
People were indeed staring at me.
Or, rather, my grey hair.
Which I would have actually described as “salt and pepper”.
That’s just semantics.
Because however which way one looked at it, I looked different from the rest of the grown-up world.
(Except for when I went to visit my great aunt in an assisted living facility in which yes, I did find some grey-haired people there.)
Which made me realize that, young at 41, I was standing out like a sore thumb.
Which made me start to think.
Am I stuck on keeping this grey hair?
Why have I chosen up until this point not to color it?
Which, when I considered it, brought me to the conclusion that I was simply stuck on “my ways”.
Just like I don’t wear make-up.
That’s one of my ways.
And I don’t wear tightly-fitted clothing.
And I’m not an overly physically warm person.
I tend to be impulsive.
The list can go on and on.
Just like everyone else, I’ve got lots of ways.
Some of which are conscious choices.
And others are just who I am.
And despite the fact that most of the S.T.U.C.K. work I do has to do with my relationships with others and how much own “stuckiness” affects who I am being in this world and how that being may negatively affect myself and others, I noticed there was value in processing this “stuck” moment regarding my own self.
So, I Stopped and took a breath.
And Told myself how I was feeling about this position: Adamant. Certain. Right. About Keeping My Grey.
And checked to see what may be Underneath this perspective: Natural is beautiful; natural is the way to go; going grey is natural.
And, despite that I found nothing inherently wrong with this particular way (keeping my grey) and I knew I certainly wasn’t going to conform just for conformity’s sake (and color it), I still Considered Checking out another perspective:
If I were to color my hair, would I feel differently about myself when I looked in the mirror?
Could I challenge myself and try a new way, just for fun, and see what happens?
Could trying a new way open me up to possibilities to other potential new ways of being in this world?
And so, I let go of my way temporarily.
And lo and behold…
I liked it.
Not only did I like it, I realized that I even liked it better than the salt and pepper I had just hours before.
And decided that for the 41-year-old me I am today, this is where I’d like to be for now.
In this new way.
Perhaps I don’t need to be stuck on the “this is who I am; Take it or leave it” kind of attitude with myself and others.
Perhaps I could play with a bit of color (make-up) on my face once in a while.
Or some differently styled clothing could be a fun change.
Or some fun dangly earrings.
Or challenge my comfort zone with physicality with others (more hugs when greeting friends on a regular basis!).
Interesting how getting stuck with keeping my grey hair woke me up to the possibilities of taking on other ways that I never really took time to notice before.
And therefore, never challenged.
And I came back to a place of oK and compassion for myself, that I got stuck on my ways in the first place which limited my visibility for other possibilities and thwarted any potential for personal growth and evolution.