I’m going gray. Matter of fact, I’m not going, I’ve arrived. I caught the bus and rode that sucker out of town without even a ticket.
I try to look at gray hair not as a loss of color but as a blank slate. It’s a chance to experience the color palette like I did my first box of 64 Crayola crayons.
Kind of like what I did when I cowered in misery in the basement bathroom of a rented house when I discovered I’d lost my way.
At the time, I accepted that I was completely responsible for the predicament I was in and could be completely responsible for creating another. Or I could check out. All I had to do was open the box and choose a happy hue – perhaps one I’d never noticed before. The question was, did I still want to color?
When I was a little kid I was weird. Let me qualify – stranger than I am now. I used to squint my eyes and treat every object in view as the white between black lines in my coloring book. Then I’d hold up a finger very close to my eyes and color it in.
People look at you strange when you’re weird. Go figure.
Then one day someone caught me. An upper classman on the bus mimicked my gesture and colored me back. I was mortified. I spun around in my seat and wished I’d disappear. My secret was out. And as usual, I got the feeling that I was sorely out of place.
Like that rogue hair I discovered. On my chin. The showoff. It’s never the one that ends up in the food because it’s rooted deep in my cerebral cortex. At least that’s what it feels like when I pluck it.
You know the type—like a pube that broke off and relocated. Metastasized like a cancer. My God, I have pubic hair cancer!
That's just another great thing about aging. It can be a canvas for feeling out of place. When I go there, I remind myself that I can open that box at any time and color myself into the picture.
Convincing myself that I can do it is the hardest part. But once I look at it that way, it’s pretty easy.
Then, I color possibility.