Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hair-Raising Rantings of a Ginger

Keep in the recesses of your mind while you read this - that this is in fact, my hair, my head, and my opinion!
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There are unalienable truthbombs all redheaded folks face, though I wonder if it's as much of an issue in northern Scotland as it is in my neck of the woods. People you've never met will ask about the nature of your hair: whether it's real or not, whether or not certain other portions match the hair on your head, whether you steal souls when you get angry, or whether you've ever been called "Annie" before (oh THAT's a new one #not).
Seriously, people have no shame about it and feel you shouldn't either. Regardless of your heritage, it will always be assumed you're Irish (not that that's a bad thing)! How dare you think of cutting it. "You should" blah blah blah.. Srsly. People will give you unwanted advice ALL. THE. TIME.
People tell me several times a week how jealous they are and compare my hair to someone they've known or known about. I get stopped on the street, even here in NYC just last week. They offer recommendations about what colors to wear in makeup, clothing, and look offended if you don't like "terracotta camel orangine" or whatever...but you get the point. 
I might appreciate compliments....if they weren't only ever followed by advice and directives.
It gets old. 
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It's fun to see their faces when I tell them how I used to want to dye my hair black when I was in kindergarten through six grade. 

It's way less fun to hear their shocked and critical responses. 

They tell me "that's crazy", "you're insane", "how stupid can you be?!" "only an idiot would do should (blah blah blah)" and proceed to tell me how lucky I am to have this color and that people would kill for it (really?) That only made me want to change it more.
For as long as I can remember in my life, I've been having to interact with this strange sort of attention. My brother and I used to think we were adopted because we didn't know as tiny children that red hair is a recessive gene and sometimes skips a generation. I used to be teased and bullied by kids my own age AND ADULTS who acted as if it was so hilarious to call me Annie all the time or some other name. It wasn't just the names. As I grew up, I traveled to other countries where redheads were thought to be from the dark side, or witches, or worse. Watch out, or I might steal your soul. Good grief, England is TERRIBLE when it comes to gingers. Then again, Italy is not. I was reminded how they'e often angelic and in Titian paintings or Florentine Renaissance Botticelli works. 
Nowadays, anyone can be a redhead and that's great....or is it?
I read. I traveled some more. I grew up and embraced what I wanted and dropped the rest. I actually began to legitimately love my hair and in fact, I truly do appreciate it as an identifier. It's also quite pretty in the sunlight. Not many people have red hair. There is much distinction between shades too. Here are a few quick facts about us gingers:
- Usually redheads are born with brown eyes, but many end up being green (mine change from green to grey to green/blue etc.)
- Redheads have less hair than most other colors, but each individual strand is stronger
- Red hair doesn't usually turn grey, it sometimes goes through a molting bird color and then turns white.
- Redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold
- Gingers often need more anesthesia
- Redheads have low concentrations of eumelanin in their body and as a result, they can’t absorb the required level of Vitamin D. However, they make up for this by producing their own Vitamin D when they are exposed to low-light conditions.
- (Personal note: bees stung me more and horses tried to eat my hair...I assume they thought I was a GIANT CARROT!)
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I will fry up if they even think about the sun, but that won't change if my hair color changes. Red air is who I am now. It's toughened me, made me stronger, and become something that connects me to legends and beauty and truly unique creatures of the whole "I was considered a vampire in ancient Greece" thing gets me a few cool points. I'm not getting rid of it, but I've finally decided to scratch the itch of dying it a bit. I can no longer ignore my fascination with blues and purples and shiny tints of peach. I'm not 100% sure what I'll do and I'm sure it'll last only a few weeks and then I'll return to my normal color. If anything, cutting my hair is also an option. My body type doesn't do too well with long flowy locks, but I've had them for the past 12 years anyway :-) Why? Because it's MY head and MY I had a terrible bowl cut for most of my life before the long locks. I also lost 2/3 of my hair after VSG surgery. I almost cut it all off except that it seemed to grow back with a bit of natural curl in it (wahoo!) As someone who spent HOURS daily in hard plastic heated rollers and then used a curling iron and hairspray, that is a miracle!

So, I've bought some colorful dye and who knows what'll happen next! To anyone who is ultra concerned with my hair or think my intelligence level has been compromised, I strongly urge you to pick a new obsession ;-)
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