Red is a personality, not just a hair color.

Faye Crawford knows all about the personality of red.
Faye Crawford knows all about the personality of red.

 

GROWING UP WITH NATURAL bright red, corkscrewed hair, and year round freckles wasn’t easy.  The combination produced a negative social stigma. I was the target of others’ folly.

With a variety of natural hues, deep burgundy, auburn, burt orange, bright copper, ginger, and carrot,  our family with a  strong line of vivacious hair color, has certainly heard its share of comments.

I endured hurtful nicknames. Children called me “Red-headed Woodpecker,” and told me I was ugly.

The intent of that remark was meant to annoy me, and it did.

As an adult, I am flattered.

The strikingly gorgeous crimson head, and snow-white body of the bird make this magnificent species easy to identify.  What a compliment that was!

Mother called me “a spitfire.”

Over the years, my raging inferno of a temper was released. When someone offended me, went against something that I believed was right, or I felt ostracized by inappropriate remarks, my insides rolled up in a ball of fire, and I became pugnacious.  My fiery temperament spelled trouble for those around me. In our family, red hair and hot tempers didn’t skip generations. My grandfather, mother, and I are evidence.

Sherry
Sherry

My cousin Sherry is no exception.

Aunt Neville was hot tempered, and one day she was told that Sherry acted just like her.  Neville said, “Beat the hell out of her.”

Another label was freckles. I  frequently desired different characteristics. I read a magazine advertisement regarding freckle cream remover, and I attempted to save enough money to eliminate those imperfections.  I thought that God had sprinkled my face with bird seed or blessed me with veins filled Cheetah blood. A devoted friend indicated that a face without freckles was like a night without stars.  The freckles that I had loathed for years became beauty spots that are a tiny segment of me.

Some comments were ridiculous. An individual suggested,“ Why don’t you cut that long, messy red hair?”

When I was thirteen, my  waist- long hair was cut for the first time.

The same adult asked me, “ Why did you cut that beautiful, long red hair?”                           

Some are weird.  My German ancestors considered natural red hair as a sure sign that a woman was a witch. They declared there had never been a saint with red hair.  At times, I unconsciously tried to live up to that description.

Not challenging authority, but feeling compelled to have the last word,  I exhausted my parents with a endless stream of backtalk which received no positive response from them.

My Irish ancestors considered red hair an exotic asset. 

I read that when a man looks at a red head, his heart rate increases. According to them, redheads are attractive. and passionate.

Sherry’s long legs, luxurious red hair, incredible aqua eyes have the extraordinaire elegance of Disney’s Jessica Rabbit. She owns the room unaware of the captivation of those who gazed upon her beauty.

Passion to live life to the fullest is the goal of our menage although it may not always follow the straightest line.  Actually, one never has to wonder what is on the mind of a ginger because the conversation is dominated by the notable company.

Some comments are insulting. I have received some personal taunts.

As a carefree preteen running across the lawn feeling the fresh air in my face, and enjoying the wind ripple through my long hair, I heard a man shout from his car, “Hey, little girl, your hair is on fire!”  I suppose my hair glowed like waves of orange and ginger embers.

A male co-worker asked, “ What color would your hair be if you didn’t dye it red?”

I considered his humiliating contemptuousness unintentional.

Judy
Judy

My niece Judy, was called the “ Redheaded Stepchild.”

This phrase was coined by James Joyce in his hit musical, Annie in which he depicted the stereotypical Irish male’s concern for disrespecting women. According to popular belief, a red headed step-child was prone to severe discipline problems, and treated differently from the other children by objects of injurious force. 

The derogatory remark is distressing when you are a young girl who happens to have a stepmother and a stepfather.  Both admired her scarlet mane, her rare distinct beauty, and  her amazing personality with just a hint of mischief in her eyes.                                                                             

I was intimidated until I became an adult. Then, the tables turned to admiration, and sometimes even envy over my natural red hair.  Now, I wonder why I would ever want to be like everyone else.

Someone in later years told me, “There are all kinds of flowers, and they are all beautiful.”  This statement encouraged me to love and accept myself. After all, not everyone can be a redhead. God made me special.

My hair was my spirit, but I didn’t sincerely appreciate my uniqueness until it simply faded through a spectrum of copper to silvery white.  My hair mellowed, and so did I.

According to my husband, it takes a real man to handle this rare breed  of unhinged adventurous, opinionated, incredibly unique woman.

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