By way of introduction, that’s me dancing in the photo above. I’m not a trained dancer. I just love to move to music. True confession: the picture was taken last summer, right after an uncharacteristically self-disciplined dietary cleanse and just before I decided to stop coloring my hair. I was about seven pounds lighter and ten shades darker. I don’t think I’ll go back on the hair color decision – it’s been unexpectedly empowering to embrace my silver side, although at the moment it’s a curious ombre of white/silver/faded-caramel, tossed haphazardly through the original very dark brown. My fantastic and sweet hair stylist for the last several years (Katie Astone at Salon Astante in Waltham, if you must know) is concerned for me. Whenever I come in these days for a simple cut and blow dry, she asks me nervously: “How are we doing with the color?” She picks warily through the grizzle, as if some explanation for my defection lurks there. To her credit, she is unstintingly supportive and gives me a beautiful cut without fail. I wonder if she worries that I’ll go postal in the salon chair, shredding the Us magazines and knocking product off the display shelves – who knows what may be going on with me?
People, especially women, compliment me on going gray all the time. Their expressions range from sympathetic to mystified to awestruck. Many tell me: “You are so brave,” as if I am trekking solo up Kilamanjaro. I also get a lot of “I wish I had your self-confidence,” and “You must be so comfortable in your skin.” The outer Holly nods politely and affirms how great it is to free oneself from the cultural aesthetic that tells women we are not allowed to age, or some other mature and enlightened crap like that. The inner Holly is floored. “Self-confident,” “brave,” and “comfortable in my skin” are not words me and my body have been on easy terms with for most of our life. For years, these words only resonated when I was thinner and glowing. Not until my late forties, when I discovered Nia (check out the links on the blog menu) did I begin to feel truly at home in my body, from within.
Another true confession: I still, and always will, hope to re-lose those seven pounds.