- Amanda Hanson is a psychologist, author, coach and popular TikToker.
- She decided to stop dyeing her hair and is going completely gray.
- This is Hanson’s story as told to PollyAnna Brown.
This essay is based on a conversation with Amanda Hanson. Edited for length and clarity.
“Why would you do that?”
It was such a simple question that slipped my husband’s lips as I told him and our 17-year-old son in the kitchen that this was the last day my hair would be dyed.
I have lived most of my life in places that are focused on fashion and beauty. Places where Botox starts in your 20s, skin is meant to be dewy and hair – hair is meant to be rich with various shades, as long as it’s not gray.
That’s why my choice to embrace the silver lining of my natural hair — to see the beauty of the next stage of my life blossom — was a radical act of rebellion.
Enter the resistor
“Aren’t you worried you’ll look washed out with your skin tone and gray hair?” my husband continued.
“No. Actually, that never crossed my mind. But it clearly crossed your mind,” I replied.
That’s when my son looked up and said, “Mom, you’re going to rock it.”
I stayed true to my word. I never dyed my hair again.
My husband was not as excited or excited as I wanted him to be at first. In my vision, he was overjoyed that I was embracing who I was and kicking beauty standards to the curb. But during my in-between stages of finding and learning to embrace myself in new ways, he wasn’t sure how to feel either.
Then I realized I didn’t need him to get excited. I didn’t need her to love my hair this way. I needed to love myself In this way.
One of the biggest teachers I had in learning to love and accept myself was my transgender child. Through him I understood the true meaning of authenticity.
Watching your child go through the cruelty that comes with being different and being misunderstood is incredibly painful. I’d take him to school in the morning, I’d see him get out of the car and he’d turn and look over his shoulder at me.
He walked so proudly into school every day, fully owning who he was, no matter how isolated he felt from the negativity, ignorance, and even hatred he was subjected to. My son kept showing up, speaking in his own voice, and embracing who he was. He never betrayed himself.
That was the level of authenticity I wanted to live my life with. And that was the level of authenticity with which I made my decision to embrace this sacred process we call aging.
Going fully inside
I decided that the things that were expected of me as an older woman—the Botox, the hair dye, the whatever-I-have-it approach to life-sustaining—was out of alignment with who I was as a person.
Aging gracefully did not mean covering up the scars of wisdom I had gained. The wrinkles that adorn my face and the silver locks that make up my hair – they are part of my journey.
The truth is that brilliance does not come from youth. Radiance and magnetism and love – come from accepting myself on my terms.
And that’s when my husband was fully on board with me on this journey.
Now, he’ll stop me on the street to take pictures of my silver hair glistening in the sunlight because it looks so beautiful — his words. The more I fell in love with myself and the more I embraced myself as I am, the deeper my husband fell in love with me.