3 months gray

It’s been about 3 months since I last covered my gray. I look in the mirror and feel excited by the white shining at the top and temples. It’s my brightness. I kick myself a little for ever covering it up.

I search terms like how long does it take to grow out gray hair and pour over posts by pioneers in the gray revolution, especially those with pictures. I check books out of the library on going gray. There are only three, so this doesn’t take long.

3 months gray. Selfies already embarrass me, and this is what I used to go to great lengths to cover and hide. But I’m showing this to document the process. This selfie is for science.


I feel like it’s going to take forever. I get a little worried about what’s ahead. I see the still relatively small strip of new growth versus old color that looks brassy and fake or blonde and fun, depending on my mood. I don’t miss my old color, probably because it wasn’t really mine. But sometimes I miss the way it allowed me to blend in.

This excitement and anticipation feels awfully familiar. So does the impatience and fear and feeling like I’m driving on the wrong side of the road.

It turns out that getting sober was a great primer on how to go gray.

I jumped into both headfirst, not realizing how gradual and slow the process would be. Fortunately, the early signs of progress were/are rewarding and motivating. I already learned that nothing ever goes as expected. I’m still learning patience. Going gray should help a lot.

It is normal to question why I’m doing this. Swimming upstream isn’t easy, especially when you’re only 1/8 of the way there. How will gray hair look at the beach in August? has become my new How will I have fun at the beach without beer?

I worry (unnecessarily) what other people think about my decision. Some probably are staring at my roots and wondering what the hell, but most aren’t thinking about me at all. Same with drinking or not drinking.

Some people do have an opinion and won’t understand why I’m doing this. I’ve met women who wouldn’t dream of skipping hair color but never wear makeup, which I feel naked without. Now, choosing not to drink can literally be a life and death issue, so I’m not comparing it with a cosmetic decision. I do know from experience that I can’t always explain my decisions or beliefs in a way that makes sense to others. The good news is I don’t have to.

I’m hyper-aware of what others around me are doing, but this will pass. In the early days of not drinking, I could tell you who drank what, though not necessarily how much unless it was a lot. I sensed a kindred soul in those, though now feel the same affection towards abstainers. I also notice every silver head in a crowd. They are shining beacons of hope.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. When I read a blog the other day recommending pretty headbands and temporary hair paints and powders to camouflage new gray, I thought why on earth would I want to hide anymore? Some people go cold turkey, and more power to them too. Maybe one of those approaches will appeal in a few months. Options are probably the best thing to have.

I’ll save soooo much money. I’m probably going to put it towards an island made of chocolate. It’ll have to be somewhere cold and I don’t really like the cold, so there are kinks to work out. With all the money I’ve saved on beer and now salon visits, I’d better hurry up.






27 thoughts on “3 months gray

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  1. That’s so funny bc since I am recently sober I also decided to go with the gray hair….I still have the alcoholic tendencies to want what I want now so decided to put grey extensions in my hair until the roots all grow in. I like your way better…it’s much more economical and liberating! ! Funny how we all find ways to dealing with the unexpected feeling that sobriety will bring us


    1. I hadn’t thought of extensions! Brilliant. I’m going to ask my stylist about those. I’m not going cold turkey and periodically plan on getting highlights, though understand they can’t really do silver or white. The process makes growing out bangs look like child’s play.


  2. My hairdresser (read sister-in-law) is on an extended maternity leave, so I’m following in your footsteps, although not of my own volition. Yours is coming along splendidly! I’m so mad I didn’t look at it in person in December. Stupid winter!

    I love it, and I can’t wait to see the finished product (although the picture on the left looks like you’re getting close? Could just be the angle of the photo). We shall celebrate with a spring 5K!

    Oh, and love the sobriety analogy, AND Cacao Island. Can I come visit?


    1. I feel your pain, Josie. In December, you would have seen some white. I was happy to wear a hat then 🙂 (by spring, I’ll be noticeably grown out – whee!) Would LOVE to do another 5K. Let’s look for a fun one.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Choosing to eschew the shackles of conventional wisdom (or is that consumerist brainwashing?) one by one. Go you Kristen! A chocolate island – ooh like the sound of that 🙂 xx


  4. funny isn’t it that so much of ourselves is the same no matter if we’re drinking or not… and a change (whatever it is) just brings all those fears to the fore with us… Terrific post I love this application of sober living into all aspects of life… as it says in Step 12 “… practice these principles in all our affairs…”


  5. I’m back at it again too. I’m now blonde to transition back to grey. I’ve been doing this since I was 40. You look great. It’s faster for me because I keep my hair short so they just cut off the color! I’m also like you about makeup, I would never leave the house without mascara! Love the analogy.


    1. I will eventually go shorter, for sure. I had an appointment last weekend that I rescheduled for another month because I figure I have a lot of growing out to do. I still don’t entirely understand how highlights help, but blonde definitely makes the transition easier than, say, dark brown, which was my real color (about a million billion years ago). I’m glad you’re doing it too again 🙂


  6. love it…looks awesome.
    and love the sobriety analogies, very true.
    one of these days…..
    i still enjoy being a bottle redhead, well “dark auburn”, altho i am well past due for a color.
    Mine only cost $8.99 at CVS, so…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just realized my roots are way grey–I’m only 40. I started greying at 30, but I noticed that I have mostly white (mostly salt, little pepper) roots now. My hair is growing about an inch every 3-4 weeks, which…sucks! I am not used to dying roots every month (I used to get highlights every 6 months or so…just a year ago, or so). I am blaming this sudden greying on being a freelance writer! LOL I love what you’re doing, but I’m not ready for it. And, it makes me wonder about myself…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Looking at you with the grey beginnings, I can now understand the wisdom and sense of your writing.
    BB, the freedom you exhibit with the things you write now, is only accentuated by your ‘New look’.B


  9. I grew out my gray a couple of years ago and have never looked back. The first year was the most challenging- I kept my hair short and well trimmed and that helped. Plus I had an understanding and encouraging young stylist. I did do temp color initially to feather in the transition so it wouldn’t be so stark.
    I have a strip of darker hair down the center- I call it my “racing stripe!”
    I found a website that was very helpful- Going Gray, Looking Great- which has been a great resource and inspiration for me. http://goinggraylookinggreat.com/
    Good luck!


  10. I grew my hair out (or ‘hair dye’ rather) a few years ago and just want to let you know that to be young (ish) with silver locks, to live with no root re-growth stress, to have have a crowning glory of colour that suits your skin tone (coz it’s natural after all!) ROCKS! And yes, yes yes to the analogy! I relate to your every word and the process you’re going through…..but it’s SO worth it. xx


  11. thanks for the smile with the island of chocolate ending – and what an empowering post K!

    also, check out this lady’s blog (her name is angie mac and I think she does gray so elegantly) – and so do you! when I saw the new gravatar I noticed your pretty eyebrows more – and your face – and it all has a lighter feel… hm


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