Jenna Caplette
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Jenna CapletteJenna Caplette migrated from California to Montana in the early 1970s, first living on the Crow Indian reservation. A Healing Arts Practitioner, she owns Bozeman BodyTalk & Integrative Healthcare. She says, " Health is resiliency, a zest for the journey. It’s about coming awake to the joy of being alive. As a practitioner, its a privilege to facilitate that healing process, to help weave new patterns of health & well-being. “ And by the way, healthier, happier people help create a healthier, happier world.

I finish a work-out class. Roll up my yoga mat. Stand. Glimpse myself in the mirror and catch my breath, startled, momentarily appalled. Who IS that woman with the grey hair?

Platinum, someone just described it. Shockingly platinum, at least in front.

Going grey, month by month, has been one of the most physically public changes I’ve made since I was pregnant. People I don’t know, have never met, weigh in on how my hair looks, how they think I might have done this differently or better. People I do know but haven’t seen for some time, the same. A week ago, a friend made a lovely back-handed compliment: You know that I care about you — no matter what color your hair is.

Young people think what I’m doing is cool. I thank them for making silver hair trendy. I’ve just been letting my hair grow out. The top is silver, the bottom a faded red. With the right crowd two-color hair, is awesomely cool.

If you’re a woman who has been thinking about going grey, now is the time. It’s weird. It’s fun. It’s a spectator event.

But the underside of grey is accepting that I am a grey-head and learning what that is for me.

Sure winter has it’s beauty. Nothing like a lack of winter these past two years to make me appreciate how much I appreciate the stark contrasts of this season. Yet, color is all about youth and vibrancy and it’s sad for that to literally have so faded away. I grieve it.

So I’ve liked having the grey come in, the platinum, a centimeter at a time. I need time to make this change, to take it in.

My Dad lives in a retirement community. Suddenly, while there for Thanksgiving, I found that I am a peer. Someone mistook me for a resident.

That did not sit well with me.

There’s a big difference between being elderly and an Elder. Between being a grandma and a Grandmother, someone who holds the energy of the People. An odd thing has happened. By deciding to literally become a grey head, I am setting out on a path of discovery, uncovering what being an Elder means to me.

My ex is Crow. I spent time there around the Grandmothers back in the 70’s when they still wore moccasins, traditional-style cloth dresses, shawls, and braided their grey hair. They could be both brazenly funny and deeply, profoundly still. As part of my learning, I reference back to them, to that energy-signature, feeling such a lack of that in my own culture.

At the same time, as the part of my hair that is red becomes less, and the grey more, I find other women who are making the same choice and for whom that choice is about more than hair color. We look at each other and smile. And sometimes we share experience, what we’ve learned, are learning, as we redefine how we experience Aging. And that’s something worth writing about.