Today, I found my first grey hair. It was a beautiful strand of hair that was actually not in my head but wrapped around the gear shifter on my SUV. I glanced down, saw it sparkling in the sunlight and picked it up. Then I looked at it when I was waiting for my youngest, who was in the store.
It wasn't quite grey but most definitely grey. In fact, it was more steel grey with a bluish hue to it. And it was mine. From the length of it, there was no way it could be anyone else's hair, unless my husband is having an affair with a greying steel haired beauty...and, if so...I want to see her because her hair is amazing!
So why the excitement over a single strand—and there was just one as I couldn't find more in my actual locks—of hair?
I made it!
It's as simple as that. I made it to an age where I would have grey hair. It is a success, a reminder that I survived.
At one point in my life, I didn't think I'd survive to see that grey hair. I thought I would be dead by 15. When I made it to 15, I thought I'd be dead by 18 and so on and so forth. My step-father was a cruel man and at the age of 13, he stood at the dinner table, his eyes shining with delight, as he described in excruciating detail the manner of my torture and subsequent murder. And he was speaking the truth. That was how he was going to kill me.
In that moment, I regretted saving his life only three months earlier when I'd woken up to the house full of smoke and stumbled out the door to the fresh air. Then I realized that there must be a fire for there to be that much smoke. I hesitated at the door before running back in to save my step-father and his wheelchair bound, disabled son. Thankfully, it was all smoke, no fire, but it would have been a fire if I'd turned and walked away from that house.
Of course, I hadn't. And that was why I spent a huge chunk of my life worrying that he'd finally catch up to me and live out that fantasy of his.
And while I outlived him, I still looked for that grey hair and got excited every time I found a white strand, a color that was in my hair since I was a child, and would pluck it out to decide it was grey or just the boring ol' white I was used to.
So today, as I stared at that grey hair, I felt an accomplishment. As though a piece of life had slid into place. I didn't panic, I didn't worry about the marching time slipping closer to my end date. I took a deep breath and let out so much I hadn't realized I'd been holding in. Here was my permission.
Here was the permission I needed to give myself that I'd accomplished that grey hair. That, from this point on, my life is my own. It is a strange thought to have sitting in a car. My life has been my own since I was 15 and stopped the abuse I was experiencing. I'd gone to college and university. I'd raised two wonderful kids and been married to the same man since I was 21. I made decisions that saw me live in two countries and I have accomplished a lot without that grey hair.
But it was like that single strand was a reminder that now was the time to take care of myself. That I can embrace who I am—the eccentric, opinionated woman I often hid to make it easier with other adults and most definitely with schools.
And that is why today I sat down and finally wrote a blog post as I've been pushing myself to do. I had planned to start a whole blog about my journey toward health. It was going to be about overcoming PTSD and managing my diabetes as well as a number of other things but then I thought, why not write it on my author's blog. This is, after all, a continuation of the story of me...a story of my soul that I place in every book I write like shining pearls in dark stories.
So yes, a single strand of grey is a start of my journey toward health and well-being.
And it is fitting that that single strand of grey was steel because it is the steel within me that has allowed me to survive all of it.
So here is to that grey hair, that release of the breath I never realized I was holding and to new goals now that I have finally gained my first grey hair at the age of 45.
I hope you follow along and share your own journey as I finally become me.