By: Kali Hanson
When I was growing up, I absolutely hated my red hair. I thought it made me ugly because it was so different, and many kids in elementary school thought the same thing. One girl in particular said to me, “Why do you have such ugly hair? Don’t you want to look pretty?” Since I thought my hair was ugly, by extension I began to think that I (as a person) was ugly.
Middle school became a bit worse for me, with friends calling me “Tomato Head”, “Ginger face” (I’m one of the lucky redheads to have rosacea), and no one stood up for me. I began to hate myself even more, and wanted to be done with my hair, because I believed it caused me so nights of crying myself to sleep. One day, at 11-years-old, I told my mom and dad about what was happening, and asked them if I could dye my hair. As much as my parents told me not to do it, they still took me to the store to buy me hair dye.
For the next 8 months, I was a brunette.
At first, I was happy about the change in hair. I thought that I could finally start to feel pretty. I wasn’t being called “Tomato Head” anymore! But after some time, I found myself missing my red locks. I thought that I was lying to myself in a way by not having my natural hair color, and most importantly, I didn’t feel like myself.
I soon realized I had dyed my hair brown to please everyone else, and never stopped to think if it would please me. I just thought that, since everyone else thought it was fine, that I should think the same thing, but that didn’t happen.
When the red came back, I was, much to my surprise, happy! I promised myself that I would never dye my hair again, and I began to love my hair, which is a love that continues today and will continue for the rest of my life.
One of the many things that this experience has taught me is to never judge someone for not liking how they look, even if it’s a trait that you yourself envy. There are stages in everyone’s life where they may not like the way they look, and usually it is just a stage. It is not our place to judge. Instead of judging someone for not liking their red hair, understand where they’re coming from, and try hard to not make them feel bad for disliking their hair. If I’ve accidentally done this to anyone I’m really sorry, too.
Dying my hair brown and self-hate taught me that people are not different or beautiful, but everyone is different and beautiful.
As I’ve learned to do, Rock it like a Redhead each & every day!
Photo: Getty Images