By Lashawnda Becoats

For the past 10 years, I’ve had a date every three weeks or so with my bottle … of hair color.

The color combinations have been different. The brands have changed. But without fail, at least once a month, it’s me, my hair color and the bathroom mirror.

Now I’m going through withdrawal. I’m locking my hair, so I can’t color it, or my locks won’t mature.

So, if I don’t color my hair soon, my head will be completely white, and I hate it.

I inherited my gray hair from my dad, who started graying when he was in his 20s. I saw my first gray strands when I was 18. It progressed slowly, but in the last three years, my hair has turned completely gray.

Camouflaging my gray hair has been my obsession, and I’ve sworn to myself that I’d go to my grave with my colored roots intact.

I’ve spent so much time, money and energy trying to cover up my gray, and I’m now tired of covering up what I consider to be a flaw.

For so long I’ve felt as if letting my gray hair be exposed to the world, for even a day, was like exposing a dirty little secret about myself, and that’s where the problem begins.

As a writer, I’m all about embracing beauty — whatever that means to you. I believe there is power in feeling self-confident and accepting who you are.

Why, then, can’t I be free enough to let my hair go gray?

I can look at other men and women with gray hair and see beauty, but I can’t look at myself and see beauty in my own gray hair.

Instead, when my father’s genes start to peek through my scalp, I get depressed. I feel unattractive. I keep several bottles of color under my cabinet in reserve so that I don’t have to suffer those awful feelings.

People often mistake me for being 29 years old. If my hair goes gray, I will have to accept the fact that I’m getting older.

I’m 39, and I don’t feel old. I don’t want people to look at me as if I’m somebody’s 80-year-old grandmother!

Recently, I mentioned to my mother that I was considering going gray (I have more gray hair than she does), and she went off.

“Why would you do that?” she asked.

“Yuck, that’s just terrible! I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she said in the telephone.

Even my sweet, loving son is quick to remind me: “Eww, Mommy, you’ve got gray hairs all over. When are you gonna dye your hair?”

Whether we like to admit it or not, our perceptions about beauty play a major role in who we think we are and how we want other people to perceive us.
I know that I am not alone.

According to Marie Claire magazine, in 2008 almost $490 million was spent on home hair-color products alone. That doesn’t include people who visit salons.

I talk about courage all the time. I’m courageous in every other part of my life. But this is the one place where I don’t know if I have the courage.

My mate thinks I’ll look sexy, and some of my friends say go for it.

Do I have the nerve to let go of my self-perceived notion of who I am enough to embrace that part of me?

I read a quote recently that said, “There is nothing sexier than a woman who is proud of whatever she has.”

I’m scared.

Do you have a beauty challenge you’d like to share? Email me at I’ll post pictures of my progress from time to time.

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