I had my hair cut a few weeks ago. I left it a little longer than usual since I’ll be in a wedding next month in which I need my hair to…do upward things. The stylist who cut my hair remarked on how naturally shiny it was (thanks!) and how my one streak of gray hair across the top on one side was “very specific.” (thanks?)
“I first noticed gray in that area when I was just 13. Someone pointed it out at school one day. I think it might be hereditary from my grandmother, but she never quite confirmed.”
“Did you experience a traumatic event when you were younger? I don’t want to pry, but they say that’s why a gray streak like that happens.”
I instinctively answered, “No.” I wasn’t lying, but that reply didn’t feel comfortable. In general, I had an unstable childhood with some periods of extreme dysfunction. Until going through a year of therapy in 2015-16, I never thought of any of it as “trauma.” But now…I do. All the stress I lived with could have caused an extreme physical change, but I’ll never be sure.
Although I have dyed my hair pretty regularly through the years, I never let my gray hair bother me too much. As a teen, I always thought of my particular gray streak as sort of a much less obvious Rogue-from-the-X-Men-type marking. I’ve worked hard to get past a lot of the issues that lingered from my childhood. So for now, I think I’ll stick with that very cool and totally culturally relevant way of thinking about it.