Growing up with red hair was good and bad. On one end, there were people who stopped in awe, gazing at my copper-hued locks. They would randomly grab at my hair all the time. Not only was I a redhead, but it was very thick, curly red hair. I truly couldn’t get through a day in public without someone coming up to me to tell me how people pay to get my color and curl then cop a feel.
The other side? The people who called me “RED”. “Carrot Top”, “Annie”, “Copper Top”, “Pippi Longstocking”…you name it, they said it. Even my own brother deemed me a “mutant” since red hair is, in fact, caused by a genetic mutation. It was hard to believe my parents telling me that my hair was lovely when people would constantly be what seemed like making fun of my big ole’ red ‘fro.
I went through the phase of dyeing it black. Then I chopped it all off. And I straightened it.
You always want what you haven’t got.
Thank goodness I got that over with.
In my twenties, I embraced it. I realized those people who poke fun are really just jealous. They want what they haven’t got, and what they haven’t got is my unique color and curls. I had learned to manage and style it. It had become part of the definition of “me”.
These days, I just sit back & relish in the fact that BOTH of my children have been given the gene. Both of them got the recessive hand-me-down from both of us. Considering my husband has (what is left of) almost-black hair, I couldn’t believe my eyes when my daughter was born & I could see a slightly strawberry tint in her nearly-bald head. Then along came my son with the same amount of reddish hair on his own baldish head. Actually though, it seemed like that is what it should be all along.
So will they go through the same thing I went through?
Perhaps they’ll be teased and taunted, tried and tested. I think it will make them better people. They will be open-minded to others around them because of their “difference”.
How silly, right?
Not too silly, really. There’s always a minority of every group, and with every minority comes prejudice. We are the minority of hair. So, like any other prejudice, we have to find a way to overcome our difference.
I will help them to embrace their diversity as with any uniqueness that comes about in their lives. Own it. Make it a part of who they are and who they will become. It’s already evident that they have that special-something too. They attract people everywhere we go with their blazing manes. Maybe what we see on the outside draws people in, wanting to know more about the inside. Maybe we have red hair for a reason.
At one point, I heard redheads will be extinct by the year 2060. Those scientists must be mad. I have never seen so many redheads, at least in the States. Sure, I could notice them more now, but I’ve always been a redhead. I’ve always been on the lookout for others like me. My children will, too.
Hopefully our children will increase the redhead population as we did. There could stand to be more of us out in the world.
I take that back. I like it just the way it is.