Like most women, I got my first gray hair too early: before I was ready for them. But that wasn't a problem: I colored them, forgot about the gray hair, and faced all the other more serious health problems that Graves' disease had brought me.
One of the ways that my body reacted to the loss of our first baby was to develop Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that affected my thyroid, my heartbeat and my hair. I lost so much hair that I had to vacuum the bed every morning, and much of the hair that did not fall out turned gray. To keep Graves disease symptoms under control, I was put on several strong drugs, some of which gave me a skin rash for which I had to take more strong drugs. It was a miserable time: I'd lost my baby, my heart was so broken that I'd became ill, I was on drugs, I wanted to have another baby, but I couldn't get pregnant again because of Graves' disease and all the drugs. The gray hair? In the scale of things, the gray hair wasn't a problem at all. Besides, it was totally in my control, while the rest of my life wasn't.
This was twelve years ago. For twelve years I colored my hair. I also got twelve years older, and grew even more gray hair, so I had to color my hair more and more frequently – every two weeks or so – because one thing did become a problem with gray hair: those pesky roots. There's nothing uglier than gray roots showing under your "brown" or "red" hair!
Then one day I got tired of it. The hair color that had freed me from my gray hair was now enslaving me, forcing me to spend a couple of hours every two weeks coloring my hair. I started to resent that process, and wanting free myself of it. So I stopped dying my hair.
Not that I embraced the gray hair – not at all! If I could just press a button, and not have to fiddle with mixing and applying hair color, I'd have brown hair again, this instant! Also, I didn't opt out of chemicals on my hair for health reasons, or to advocate a more natural look: for years, hair color was fine for me.
I just said no to hair products and their baggage, which I'd carried for twelve years, but eventually decided to unload. By doing that, I chose the freedom of letting my hair grow the color it is now: gray(ing). And, surprisingly, this is how my hair feels right now: light and free.