A month and a day ahead of my 50th birthday, my creativity is starting to show the way my grey hair did in my early 20’s.
I was never one to cover it up but I was really good at ignoring it. I had a lot of explanations – I was a towheaded child turned mousy brown adolescent, so maybe they were blond and not grey hairs. There weren’t many at first. I got them from my mother. It was the stress of college. My last boyfriend. Moving to New England. It wasn’t really me.
I am still surprised when I get my hair cut and my black salon cape is all covered with white hairs. Whose are those? When I look in the mirror I still see multiple colors. Enough people ask me if I dye my hair (why would I dye it grey?) or talk about how much they hate their grey hair that I can believe that they also don’t see mine as grey. Until they turn to me and say “Oh, no – I mean, it looks great on YOU.”
I have never been the artistic type. Can’t draw or paint, can’t sing, can dance a little, but my oldest sister was the ballerina in the family. I have had pockets of things I enjoy and can do well but they are things like calligraphy and pottery – things with a pre-defined form. They seem too much like paint by numbers to qualify as artistic pursuits. It’s not creative if you are following a pre-set form, right? Surely I can just pluck out that one grey hair.
Writing is more my game, but not creative writing, so again: form. Who can’t string a sentence or two together? My parents were writers, and my aunt and uncle. Published in real newspapers and magazines. I’m not a real writer. I just play around with it. Post a funny caption on facebook now and then with my dog photos. And the photographs? Everyone has a smart phone now. Who doesn’t take photos? Apps and filters can make anything look good. A decent haircut with good layering helps disguise the increasing numbers of grey hairs, right?
I love my animals. I’m no good at taking photos of people, and I have trouble getting the colors right when I take landscape photos, sunsets, or flower photos. Because my horses won’t leave me alone when I am in their fields, I am forced to take close-ups of horse parts. It’s just something that happens. They make me laugh, so obviously it’s not art, it’s just silliness. What do you mean, when did I start to go grey? Grey? Me?
I’ve always been afraid to call myself a writer, a photographer, creative, an artist. Those are things that other people are. Those are things you are just good at. If you have to work at it, you aren’t it. But if it slips in around the edges, if you just do it now and then, if it starts to take up more of your time…when does it become who you are? When does the brown haired person become the grey haired person? How many days of practice, what number of grey hairs, causes one to become the other?
I am still in the early stages of seeing the creative bits in the mirror. Just a little one here or there. Maybe more in the back – is that why other people see it when I can’t? Like my hair, I think I will just let it go. I don’t have the personality for hair dye. It’s too hard to maintain. I’d rather just let it take over, let it look how it looks, deal with the sometimes funny comments, and get on with my life. It took probably twenty years for my first grey hairs to become a grey head of hair, and ten more for me to admit it. I hope to allow the creativity to seep in a little faster, and to recognize it when it comes.