Accepting My Premature Graying

by - September 02, 2020


My hair started changing color when I was 15. By my 20s, I had a lot of white hair already. Here's how I accepted my premature graying.

Back in my third year in high school, when I was 15, I freaked out when my once jet-black hair started having very light brown strands. Afraid to dye my hair, I tried to use blackening shampoos but to no avail.

I had my first white hair in my fourth year in high school, at 16, when one of my classmates joked that I had “fairy hair.” More strands became light brown until they eventually turned white—shockingly white strands, not gray.

Denying my premature aging

I did my best never to pull out the white strands, or sleep or tie my hair when it was still wet, hoping my “graying” will stop. But it didn’t.

In college, I regularly dyed my hair. Since it was “illegal” to dye your hair according to our university’s absurd rules, I kept it subtle by coloring it dark brown.

When I started working, the more white hair I got. I thought it was just because of the stress. But the more I colored my hair, the drier it became, so I stopped coloring it for some time.

I was told I should just bleach my hair silver and go full Targaryen, but I didn’t want to, and my “natural” hair color started to grow on me—I’m not even sure how I would describe my hair.

Salt-and-pepper look won’t make the cut, because it’s more of tricolor: jet black, light brown, and white. Just like Papa’s when he was younger.

Genetics and accepting my white hair

Then I started fully accepting that maybe I really got it from my Papa—premature graying due to genetics (along with my astigmatism, my temper, my “manly” body hair, and my talent for writing—thank you and I love you, Pa!)

One day, now that I am nearly 30, I was looking at the mirror and surveying my white hair when my three-year-old came up to me and asked, “What you doing, Mom?”

“Looking at my white hair, langga.”

“Wow, Mommy, so beautiful hair! White hair like Elsa?”

That’s when I remembered one of my high school best friends telling me one time, when I was fussing over my hair, “We love you no matter what hair color you have!”

And I realized, that’s what really matters: It's not about how you look, nor how your loved ones accept you, but how you accept yourself the way you are.

It warms my heart how my daughter sees everything as beautiful and, for things that are unfamiliar to her, as something interesting and amazing. Children have that innocence to see things as they are, not as how it should be.

By accepting my flaws, I'm hoping to set a good example to my daughter to love herself unconditionally. 

But I realized, she is the one setting a good example for me.

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