It’s no secret to my family and friends that I just turned 32 on June 26th. Did I mention that I just turned 32? Cause yeah I just turned 32. Nonetheless, I have been celebrating for the last week with thanks to my hubby and coolest friends in Abu Dhabi. We’ve brunched at BU!, boozed around town, sun-bathed by the pool and had the most amazing full body massages and spa day treatments at the St. Regis along with staycations/ baecations at the Westin. To say I have been blessed is an understatement. But I would say the greatest gift that I have received is the one I’ve decided to give myself this year, and that is to “embrace the grey”.
And so what exactly does that mean? Well since I was 17 years old, I have been growing a streak of grey hairs down the center of my head. I looked up junior year of high school and there it was. A single grey strand and I thought, do I pluck it? No-because I had always heard- if you pull it out, more will grow in its place. So I left it alone and then one day, there was another, and then four. Then four became seven and seven became too many to count.
As I got older, I found myself trying to bury and hide them, but by 25- that was no longer as option. They were prominent and permanent and so I just thought to hell with it. It is what it is. At times people would point the obvious, as if I didn’t see them myself or say “girl what you stressing over, you’re too young for greys“. But I began to think the opposite and see them as a sign of wisdom or better yet, was I potentially a young mutant- like Storm’s long lost cousin- Rain. No but seriously, they became a symbol for me of strength and character, a representation of what I had seen and experienced in this life and boy have I had some experiences. Plus Carlos finds them extra cool. My greys stand out front and center. Some curls are coily and tight while others are loose and wavy-representing all that I am and how I see myself in so many different ways. They can no longer be hidden and being naturally curly I have no desire to cover them up.
But when I say embrace the grey, I don’t mean just the exterior, but all that I have become. Embracing the grey for me means understanding, connecting and accepting that middle space of life. That place where I don’t know what every day is going to bring or what may happen, but I am making a conscience choice not to worry about it, which many times is easier said than done. In recognizing the grey area, I am acknowlegding that the middle ground is a choice, MY CHOICE and I am choosing that this space is okay. Uncomfortable at times, but so its worrying, so why do it? Many times- we get caught up in the worry of life, the planning of what if this happens, or that happens, or something happens to this person or that person, or I lose this or suffer from that. What happens? What happens? WHATTT HAPPENS?
The answer is- life happens.
And in the interim of worry, we drive ourselves mad, angry, sad and borderline insane with that worry. That worry about things that we can’t change or control, instead of channeling that energy into the things that we can. Imagine, how much greater we and life would be if we just embraced that space. Imagine what an exercise of faith it would be if we just surrendered it all to God. If we said, “God you haven’t defined it in either black or in white. Its not precise or pretty, or clear or understood, but I know, like in every other situation, you have a plan for me and until you reveal it to me, in whatever form you see fit then I accept this area- this grey area, God, for all that it is.” Imagine the power in that. See the black and white is definitive. We feel like we have control over the black and white because we can see it and life for what it is, but the grey area not so much. But the grey area is a space that exercises growth and personal evolution. It forces you to ask yourself difficult questions and can reveal to you an inner power and resilience that you didn’t know you possessed.
See the grey area is an area of being still and yet steadfast, not busy or distracted from what God is showing you or trying to show you. Its a space of mindfulness, as my therapist says (yes black girls go to therapy and we will get into that later). A year ago, if you asked me if I could fully and wholly embrace the grey or the unknown I would say no. I was so stuck in what I wanted and how I wanted it. I was stuck in expectation and hadn’t taken stock of whether I was deserving of or thankful for the things he had given me. When you can be still and thankful for what God has done, doing and will do in your life-then you are acknowledging your true belief in this faith and ability to provide.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?- Luke 16: 10-12
Life has a way of showing you things about yourself and revealing things about others that forces you to accept it. It gives you an accurate depiction of the serenity prayer.”God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference”.
So here I am at 32, happy to look into the mirror and proud to say that Devereaux can embrace the grey, and whatever life throws at you, I pray you can do the same.
As my Pastor would say- you don’t want to celebrate your birthday? Well try missing one and see if that doesn’t change your perspective.
Thanks to everyone who loved on me all last week and over my life,
XOXO- A grey headed,