My Particular Shade of Gray

Aging is a humbling experience.

(I see teens and twenty-somethings who primp and angst about their appearance and want to yell at them, DON’T YOU REALIZE HOW GOOD YOU LOOK WITHOUT EVEN TRYING?)

First it was spider veins showing up on my thighs.  Then crow’s feet near my eyes. I’m emotionally bracing myself in case I one day sport a turkey neck.

Great. Our bodies are ultimately conquered by creepy-crawlies and carrion.

The latest offense is my hair. I can no longer pretend I don’t see, um, SILver. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Should I Go Gray?

I stopped coloring a few years ago when I first noticed that winter was coming. It was fine when I WANTED to color, whether that was to don a more chestnutty brown than I had naturally, or a reddish mahogany that was more striking than my genetic coloring. But HAVING to color, having to hide the fact that hair-by-hair, my pigment factories are slowing down production, well that’s not fine.

I didn’t want to be one whose face and hair looked like they were minted in different decades. Have you seen examples of ladies who appear to have 30 year old hair and 60 year old faces? If I wanted the parts of my head to age together, I’d need to stop coloring and let the gray start to show, if only to match my face.

Now, though, I can now imagine myself coloring again. And it’s not because I’d be coloring my hair to look younger, but to look, well, purplier. I’ve never taken my hair lighter than it is because I would never strip my color to do so.

But now, now that my own color is planning a final exit and eventually won’t be present to be stripped? I began to wonder how could I turn the lemons of not having color into lemonade — maybe even LAVENDER lemonade.

Once my hair goes all gray, I can see myself doing this.

lavender hair

Or maybe this.

taking gray hair purple

My daughter is petrified that I’ll actually do go through with this plan Mommmmmm, what will my friends say??

Which simply adds another hashmark in the plus column.


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Dear Abby Misses the Mark on Adoption Question

Dear Needs Help in Indiana,

It must feel like walking on eggshells for an adoptee to live in an Either/Or world. If you even think about your birth mom, some will judge you as disloyal to the woman who is raising you.  Because, y’know, there is room for only one set of “real” parents in Either/Or world.  About the anger you’re feeling toward your birth mom, you’re told — by Dear Abby, no less — to wait until you’re older to search for her, and in the meantime to just get over it (which is not all that helpful unless the advice also includes how to do so).

dear abby

I wish for you and my own similarly-aged daughter to instead grow up in a Both/And world. In this world, we don’t need to negate one mother in order to legitimize the other. In this world we acknowledge that both biology and biography have value in making a person who she is. In this world we encourage our kids to claim and be claimed by both their clans. In this world we strive to give our teen access to all her pieces (even if that means just wondering and talking about those missing pieces) as she does the hard work of building her identity.

It’s my belief that allowing for healing that split will, in itself, ameliorate some of the intense emotions you’re feeling.

I’m sorry that you are struggling and feeling angry. I wonder if being able to talk openly about your anger would ultimately help you release it. You are wise to see that unresolved anger can spill over into your relationships with friends and family members. Instead of stuffing down your feelings until some later date when you search for your birth mother, my advice would be to enlist your parents’ help* now to find an adoption-competent therapist.  To start your search for one, check with  Brooke, Judy, or Sherrie, all in Indiana.

Bring this book to your first therapy appointment and ask your counselor to read it, if s/he hasn’t already.

Come to think of it, maybe I should send a copy of Adoption Therapy to Dear Abby.

Being 13 is hard. Being 13 and having complex feelings about adoption and no one to process with is super hard. Please. Find someone to talk with you about it. There are people who know this path and can help you along your way.

Best wishes,
Lori in Colorado

* If you think they might not be open-hearted about this, ask them to read this book first.

Image by Benmckune at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Open adoption parenting & mindful living