Thursday, June 7, 2012

Redheads, Unite!

See, I just started this 15-Day Writing Challenge led by the amazing Jeff Goins. Day 2: Get up two hours early and then write about something you've been afraid to write. Doesn't sound like any kind of fun challenge I'd want to do. But then again, he's trying to make me ACT like a writer because after all, I am a Writer. (Declaration was Day 1).
Incidentally, I sort of suggested to my  husband that maybe we could do a 15-Day Love Challenge. He asked what that was, and I said I didn't really know, but maybe it would involve love notes. He gently pushed me back toward my computer, and said, "Why don't you go back to your writing?" He gets scared sometimes of my brain, I think.


We had a Diversity Training for work yesterday (nothing like The Office), and while the speaker was giving us some things to think about, I had a memory from childhood that popped up. Actually, it reared its ugly head and I was surprised by the thought of it. Now, I realize that there are far more serious disadvantages in life, and that some people have had terrible experiences because of those disadvantages. But I had an issue that kept me "different" in a time when no one wanted to be different: I was a redhead.


My hair was red, but it was not frizzy or orange, and for that I could be thankful. But I was conscious of it every day. Not only was I a redhead, but I was shy (until I was around my closest friends) and I was smart. I had a few freckles, but at least I wasn't covered in them, which would have made things worse. Of course, today I think they're beautiful, but I'll get to that in a minute. I had no role models to look up to, and the only redhead that my peers knew was Orphan Annie. Annie's cute and all, but with her red, frizzy hair and spunkiness, she just wasn't someone I aspired to be. 


You may have noticed my "forever heroine" picture on the right. My mom introduced me to the book "Anne of Green Gables," and maybe things turned around for me at that point. Just a little. Anne was of course, another orphan, but she had a different path. She was brought into a family who wanted a boy, but by mistake, came home with Anne. She used all her negotiating skills to make them keep her. Anne was brave, she was smart, she was talkative, she was pretty, she was funny, she was lovable, she was a good friend, and she was PROUD to be a redhead. When Gilbert, later the love of her life, called her "Carrots" in school, she broke a slate over his head. Who hasn't wished they could do that to someone?
Orphan Annie today- Aileen Quinn


Things all changed in Junior High. Suddenly, without reason, people wanted to be redheads. They were dying their hair. It was cool to be me. Actually, it was cool to be different because this was a time when we were trying to form some identities that didn't match the next person. I changed, and the world around me changed. It's almost impossible to even believe I felt that way today, when I look around and see all the diversity. That's why I was surprised to have those feelings creep up on me. Today, my hair is not as red, and I have added some highlights. Some people don't even think of me as a redhead, which is weird. I wish they would.  It's who I am.

10 comments:

  1. Great post. I had to laugh--I had a redheaded son and now two redheaded grandaughters (the third is thinking of becoming blond by her second birthday). As the mom/grandmom of redheads, here's my take: You definitely ARE different. More adventuresome, more excitable, more energetic, smart, funny, whimsical, and often shy. They're a challenge, but will surprise you with sweetness and kindness at every turn. They're the ones dancing after the butterfly into traffic. In a word, they're exhausting...but in a good way. I wouldn't trade them. Be proud. You survived--we weren't sure my son would.

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  2. We are a different breed, definitely! I was the ONLY redhead, even in my extended family. So to have as many as you do, wow. I would be the one on the side, warning them not to go after the butterfly. But that just shows how different we can be. Challenge, Yes. For sure. Just ask my parents. Thank you for commenting :0)

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  3. Barb Leatherman (mom)June 8, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    Ok, Christina, yes you were different, but to me different in an interesting way. As my first, I didn't know better,than to treat you as my friend and not a baby. We shared big conversations, lots of books, and even an early soap opera after your nap. You were the inventor of games and plays in a neighborhood where even the big kids came to my door asking if you could come out and play. I cherished your red hair and big blue eyes. God was very creative when He gave me you, then my white-blonde Erin, then my dark, Michael. I thank Him daily for you and your brain.

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  4. By the way, Christina, Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite heroines too! I love the series and every now and then I pull it out to watch it again. Although I had chestnut hair with natural auburn highlights, which grew redder under the summer sun, I wasn't considered a redhead. I grew up in a sea of girls with the same colored hair; so, I would not have stood out if it weren't for being a twin. Thus, my struggle was a bit different--to create my own identity to distinguish myself from my twin. In doing so, I stood out and accepted the consequences of that--for good or bad!

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    1. Ooh, pretty. Your hair sounds like the color of my story heroine's. I'm glad you love Anne, too. We have had Green Gables-watching marathons. They were so well-done, they really brought the books alive. Even the men in our family would watch them, and that's saying alot. Have you been to P.E.I.? Still a dream of mine.

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  5. I had the Orphan Annie red frizz-mop as a kid. A lot of gel and a longer length tames it into something presentable, but like yours, my red has faded. Keep up with the Challenge!!

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    1. Oh, wow! I bet that was a blessing and a curse. If there were more of us, we could have banded together at the time we needed it. Thanks for coming by, and I hope that you keep up the challenge and grow in the process, too!

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  6. You and I must be related . . . hee hee. I had the same issues. All I wanted to do was just blend in.

    And yet we were different.

    We got good grades, and excelled in life. Looking back, I find I was very blessed to have a positive attitude. I don't know about you, but for some reason I don't ever remember caring what those around me thought. I went through my earlier years and even through college not really minding if I "fit in" anywhere or not. Wherever I was, I was enjoying my life thoroughly and I think that's the way God intended us to be. ;) Red heads ROCK!

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    1. What a relief it was to find you, the other lone redhead in our whole family! I remember it having quite an impact on me when we were young. I think I probably cared more what others thought than you did, and wish I hadn't so much, but I'm getting better at it now. I did still - and do- enjoy life fully! It's a redhead thing, I'm sure!

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