Life as a Redhead

Crossing paths with someone from my college days, who is now the mom of a redhead, she told me in amazement that random strangers stop and comment on her daughter’s hair. Still with an expression of disbelief and a tone that matched it, she asked me, “Did people do that to you?!” Since birth. Though the comments are a lot fewer and far between now and my hair has lightened over the years, I would not be at all shocked if a random stranger still referenced my hair. In my early days of marriage, I recall my husband’s surprise when we were out in public and someone would mention my hair. In high school when I went to Mexico on a mission trip, I had young children want to touch my hair expecting it would be hot. The dad of one of my friend’s growing up affectionately called me “Red.” My whole life I have been very aware of being a redhead.

The majority of comments over the years have been words of praise. Praise for a feature solely given to me by God and of no consequence of anything I have done. But some words are less pleasant to hear. Though said in jest, words declaring me to have a temper because I am a redhead can be hard to stomach. Perhaps I am sensitive to these attempts at humor, which I still receive on rare occasion, because I actually do battle anger. Would I be calmer if my hair was a different color? Would I be perceived differently? Silly I know. But then why do people persist in saying such things over the years if there is no truth in it? So I have to ignore the teasing remark and consciously choose to believe my anger level has nothing to do with my hair.

As far back as elementary school, some have wrongly labeled my hair orange. Even my own sweet children have mistakenly declared it orange, and I have had to graciously teach them that my hair is red no matter what the red and orange crayons, markers, paint, and construction paper all look like. When it comes to hair, there are redheads, not orangeheads.

Ever notice how redheads are portrayed? In Frozen, Annie, and Anne of Green Gables it is pretty good. Nevertheless, Anne hates her hair for years, receives a degrading comment concerning her hair when she first meets Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and battles a horrible temper throughout the movie. But if you start to observe, the bully in books are frequently described as a redhead. Once when I was browsing at a bookstore in my teen years, I recall coming across a book featuring solely redheads. The unflattering picture after unflattering picture of redheads left me feeling appalled and disgraced. Even a well-known pastor in the first five seconds of this message announces that he will be preaching about the “red-headed stepchild of Ephesians.” Perhaps no one else gave his opening remark a second thought, but it immediately jumped out at me and took me by surprise. Why do redheads get such a bad rap?

Did you know that only 1-2% of the world’s population is naturally redheaded?

God knit us each together in our mother’s womb with a purpose and plan for every feature He perfectly chose for us. When we stare in the mirror, we can know with confidence that God designed us precisely as He intended and fully knows what will consequently be our life experiences.


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