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.