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My Brains Didn’t Leave with My Hair Color

My Brains Didn’t Leave with My Hair Color

During a recent interview with Sonya Bloom, she shared one of the reasons she decided to facilitate discussions to reduce ageism. “My brains didn’t leave with my hair color,” stated Sonya.

When she stopped coloring her hair, her beautiful white locks became visible.  People began treating her differently.  She was shocked by the changes in how others communicated with her and the assumptions made about her abilities.

The hair color and skin care industries are booming, resulting in a billion dollars spent on products designed to keep us looking youthful.  But what is the balance between wanting to look our best and not giving in to products or procedures designed to keep us looking young?

I used to enjoy watching “make-over” segments on television.  I liked seeing how a new hairstyle or fashion choice looks on a woman.  But often the host or stylist referenced how the changes make the woman “look years younger.”  “You look so good,” is exclaimed when one’s hair color is changed from gray to brown.  Can’t someone look good with gray or white hair?

Getting real with my own vanity.

I must admit, when working remotely began 12 months ago, I didn’t like being on camera for Zoom meetings.  I was never someone who spent a lot of time looking in a mirror outside my usual “get ready” routine.  So when Zoom meetings became the new normal and I had to be “on camera” most of the day, I caught myself focusing too much on my appearance flaws.

I filled my head with messages of regret for not taking better care of my skin.  “Perhaps the camera’s reflection would be kinder,“ I told myself, had I used sunscreen instead of baby oil while sun worshipping in my twenties.   I even caught myself discreetly pushing up the sagging skin around my neckline and thinking that it might be time for a face lift.  After a few weeks of self-critique, I realized I had fallen into the trap of putting too much emphasis on my appearance as I age.  I reminded myself of advice I often share…

“One’s worth is not based on what I look like compared to my younger self.”

And I told myself to focus on what is important when I see my reflection - my life story.  The sum of my experiences, relationships, and wisdom.

Everyone is entitled to make their own decisions about how they look. 

No one deserves to be judged based on their appearance.  If you want to change your hair color, have a facial treatment to minimize wrinkles, or spend $100 on a cream to fade an age spot, the choice is yours.

However, making these choices should be made because YOU want to make them.  Not because YOU feel the need to make them to be beautiful or stay relevant in our culture.

To hear more on how people treated Sonya when her hair color changed, along with her other tips to reduce ageism, watch the video below.

Remember, your appearance is your choice.  Don’t allow yourself to be taken in by the age trap.  Make the choices that reflect what YOU want, not what society pressures you to do.