By: Emily Clarke
Growing up as a redhead, feeling uncomfortable in my body was my norm. Hardly anyone shared my hair color; my skin was impossibly, and constantly, pale; and whether or not I was embarrassed, I frequently flushed deep red.
I had cousins with a richer red hue to their hair, friends with naturally bronzed skin, and siblings who never blushed. Whatever lottery decided appearances; I was convinced I’d lost. I felt alone: others had insecurities, but no one had my insecurities.
There was no escaping it either – everything about me was bright. Curious peers made unintentionally hurtful comments about how funny it was to make me blush on command, or how crazy my hair was. To make matters worse, makeup and hair styling techniques were a mystery to me. At that age, I could rock some heavy-duty eyeliner and a ponytail but anything beyond those may as well have been rocket science.
And then that most awkward phase, puberty, finished. My hair didn’t change color, but it became curly (another story altogether) and I stopped cutting it all off. My skin didn’t darken, but I noticed delicate patterns of freckles. My cheeks didn’t stop blushing, but it became constant and seemed intentional.
Now I wear my hair with pride. I feel solidarity with other redheads and curiosity from everyone else. I will always be frighteningly pale in the winter, and become a lobster all too easily in the summer, but I wouldn’t trade my hair for anyone else’s.
Here are my best tips to share in that glow of pride:
1. Focus on the idea that your unique hair is incredibly special, not weird!
2. Be patient. Especially in your teens. You will grow into yourself.
3. Search out a community of other redheads, like you’ve got here on How to be a Redhead.
4. Embrace your brightness and never be ashamed again.
There are so few of us redheads that we don’t seem to have any other option. We are a glorious pop of color.
Rock it like a Redhead!