I know I rarely post photos of myself but of the few I have there’s no denying, I am a fully fledged redhead.
The first thing people used to say whenever they peered into my pram was “oh it’s a little Fergie!” My hair over the years has somewhat toned down to the fiery red it was as a child. For me having ginger hair was never really an issue until I was about 12-13 when I started to become aware that actually people can be quite horrible about people who don’t fit the “norm” of blonde or brown hair.
I was quite lucky though; I was never bullied or really badly teased about the colour of my hair but any horrible comment was usually met with my incredibly sarcastic and probably well practised comebacks so few bothered again. As most teenagers who are going through their awkward puberty stage I never wanted to stand out and be different; I wanted an easy life and to blend in as I muddled my way through secondary school and the colour did not allow me to blend in – it did the opposite. No boy would ever want to go out with a redhead I thought; all my blonde and brunette friends had lots of admirers and boyfriends and I convinced myself if I could just dye my hair I’d be the same. In year 11 my Mom finally bowed to my relentless questioning and took me to the hairdressers where I had all my hair cut short and a few highlights run through it – I felt amazing. I completely and utterly resented having ginger hair and now I felt like could finally start to hide the colour that was making me so unhappy.
However what I didn’t bargain on is – you can’t just buy a dye from the shop and you’ll become a platinum blonde or a beautiful chocolate brunette in 20 minutes – nope, just like me red hair is stubborn and
pretty difficult impossible to cover! Not only that but as my hair grows at such a rate that when I did start a few years later going all over “blonde” (oh dear I know!) that within two weeks I would start getting a rather fetching ginger stripe growing straight down the middle.
After I had Charlie, time and finances weren’t as readily available as before, so my ritual 6 week bleach job appointments started to wane and I started to realise – why am I bothering? Why am I so hell bent on being something I’m not? I soon found that being a parent – your priorities change. I was no longer the most important person in my life and I couldn’t justify paying so much on my own vanity. So that was that and I decided I’d grow out all the nasty blonde and revert back to my natural hair colour; but this time I found that I embraced it and fell in love with my real self.
I now adore having red hair. It gives me a sense of being different and after a very long time wrangling with myself I love being individual. I’m sure despite being almost 30 that there are still some pretty ridiculously childish adults out there that probably would still use my hair colour in a derogatory way and it’s still totally acceptable to be at the butt of jokes, but I’ve learnt to let them go over my head as some people will always be ignorant. Having ginger hair has definitely become ‘cooler’ over the years – whether it be more famous folk such as Ed Sheeran, Rupert Grint, Lily Cole, Isla Fisher, Damien Lewis and of course Prince Harry making it acceptable to be ginger. I just wish I was as comfortable back then as I am now. How I could have saved so much money in the quest to ‘fit’ in, except I was doing the opposite – by trying to fit in I was becoming something I wasn’t. It sounds ridiculous, it’s just hair colour, but I desperately tried to conceal the truth. A boyfriend back in my late teens asked me if I had red hair and I lied! To someone I was dating! I think I was trying to make myself believe it – how could I have gone on like that comletely pretending and trying to fool myself into a state of something I wasn’t. I feel desperately sad that I felt I had to lie in a quest to be liked.
My children sadly haven’t inherited the ginger gene from me which I am actually a little sad about. Charlie is a true strawberry blonde but as he likes his hair cut short it’s always so blonde and the girls are dark, but I never thought I would feel a little sad about them not being little redheads. I thought I’d be over the moon as for them as they got to be ginger free but I now know the beauty of the gingerness. I am proud to have so many people compliment me on the colour of me hair, so many desperate to try to emulate a true rich red tone.
So to my younger self- don’t fight who you are. I was inspired to write this post after seeing a friend on Facebook who was my childhood penpal who has the most gorgeous flame red hair and is now pregnant with her 3rd child, but she is still dying her beautiful hair brown and I wish she too could embrace her natural colour instead of hiding away. I realise that people can be whatever they want but she’s openly admitted to hating it which is so sad.
I am proud to be a ginger ninja and nothing anyone says can change it!