I found lots of approval. Apparently, gray hair is totally in and the new trend among the hipster set. (And, by hipster, I don't mean anybody who has broken theirs.) Gray is walking the runways and socialites such as Pixie Geldof are embracing the color. Why, even Kelly Osbourne has gray hair now!
And they have to pay! I get mine for free!
There is quite the gray movement going on, including on a fantastic website called Going Gray, Looking Great, with stories of women who have actually chosen to let their natural hair color grow out, which they call transitioning.
They didn't do it the easy way, like I did.
Looking at pictures like these, I am assured that I am right in trend:
There are beautiful names for our hair. We are silver, or icicle gray, or snowey-tipped, or sparkling pewter. Lovely sounds, all.
And yet, each time I am walking down the street or in a mall and catch a glimpse of myself in a reflection, I don't recognize myself. "Who is that old lady?" And when I look around the streets to see other women with my hair color, I am not seeing the Kelly Osbournes out there.
I mostly see this:
Needless to say, I am conflicted.
It all came to a head (har har) the other day, when I had a job interview. Now, I like my job as a middle school secretary, but I drive two cities away to get there. Because school starts so early, I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. With my tamoxifen pain and inability to sleep properly, I am thinking I'm going to struggle with that - a lot.
So, I was extremely excited to discover that a job was opening up that I am eminently qualified for, and which is a five minute drive from me. Not only is it close to my house, but it is also the high school my son will attend next year. It would be a dream come true to work there. The drive would be gone, the worry about being so far from my son would be gone.
Plus, nobody there knows I had cancer. I would be free to start fresh.
It was time for me to get a break. It's been a tough year, with cancer, two pets dying, our car stolen, the expensive medical-related expenses cancer brings, and all the associated problems that life enjoys throwing at you all at once.
Seeing the job posted at my son's future school - well, it was a sign. Things are about to get easier on me.
So, I applied. And, unsurprisingly, I got an interview.
I was confident. I was prepared. I am perfect for the job. I knew what they were going to ask because I have typed those questions for my boss before. I felt sure I would be a top candidate.
I even treated myself to new clothes. I bought a pink and gray blouse (I know, but I don't always hate pink) and a grey skirt which I felt that would match my silver hair.
I walked confidently into the interview room, and was startled to see on the panel somebody I'd worked with two years ago. She looked shocked at my appearance and commented on my hair, which immediately flustered me. "Does she know I had cancer, does she know why it looks so different?"
I sat down to the interview, suddenly plunged into cancer mode, on the defensive, wondering what they knew, would they hire me anyway?
Instead of my new mantra, "I've been through cancer, this is nothing." Or, "Hell, if Carly Fiorina can run for Senate after her treatment, than I can certainly handle a job interview" I was in scramble mode, inarticulate. I was the actress who not only went out on stage and forgot her lines, but also forgot her costume. I stood there naked, not knowing what to say, the audience feeling sorry for me.
And, it was one of those situations where instead of recovering my composure after taking a couple of deep breaths, I got worse and worse and blew it so bad that I knew before I'd walked out that I hadn't gotten the job. The only way I could have won that position was if all the other candidates look like that lady with the pipe above.
Even then, it wouldn't be assured.
|This is what I looked like when the interviewer knew me|
Cancer has taken a breast, eighteen months of my time, my energy and strength. And, the other day, it took my confidence and thus, a job I really wanted.
I actually like my icicle/snow/pewter hair. But, if it is going to become emblematic of my cancer experience and shake my confidence when people notice it - and it's only natural that they will - then it's going to have to go.
I'm still not "cancer girl" and never hope to be. But, I'm not the old me either, and now I know I never will be again. For now, acceptance of the changes cancer brought is something I realize I'm going to have to work on.