Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ginger Me This

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write lately, as it seems not much has happened that has warranted expression in the form of writing. Talking? Yes. Writing? No. You see, I don’t tend to write about things mundane. It has to be something that strikes my emotions or thoughts or interrupts my life enough that I have to express what I’m thinking, feeling, or experiencing. This is one of those topics. Not because it’s of great intellectual value; not because it’s enlightened my soul in some way. It’s just simply something that I have an interaction with on a daily basis, and for some reason, today, it’s been on my mind more than normal. Is the suspense killing you yet? Well, sorry to disappoint, but my topic today is red hair, fair skin, and freckles. All the things that make me a ginger.

Mind you, growing up I was picked on as the redheaded, freckle-faced, awkward little girl, but the teasing terms didn’t truly bother me. For example, when someone called me a “carrot top,” my instant reaction (hands firmly placed on hips, of course) was one of, “Is this person stupid? The top of a carrot is green. If they’re referring to the rest of the carrot, it’s orange, and my hair is definitely NOT orange. Idiot.” (It’s amazing how much my personality was evident even in elementary school!)

My mom always called my freckles “angel kisses,” so as an innocent little girl, I assumed they were. It wasn’t until I went to my first dermatologist when I was about 10-11 that I began to have a hatred for these “angel kisses.” I had the misfortune of going to a dermatologist that apparently lacked the ability to interact with people. At all. She began berating me and my mom for the amount of skin damage I had already received. “Why didn’t you make her wear more sunscreen? Why did you let her play outside so much? I’ve seen girls die at age 16 from skin cancer!” And on and on she went. I was stunned, scared, and hurt. I had never thought of my freckles as “damage,” and I couldn’t understand why my mom had not been more truthful. I left the office and instantly went to the bathroom to cry. Uncontrollably. The only thoughts in my head were how close I was to 16, and I assumed based on what she said that 16 would also be my death. My poor mom was left to console me as best she could. I now understand that my mom was only trying to protect me from reality. She did try to keep sunscreen on me, but you probably know by now that I can be a wee bit stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. I repeatedly tried laying out in hopes that I would one day get a tan, despite her constant reminders that it would never happen. I was then left with numerous, painful sunburns. I can't tell you how many it took before it finally sunk it that it would, in fact, never happen. She knew I probably shouldn’t play in the sun so much, but how do you keep a cheery, chubby faced little girl inside when she just wants to run outside in the sunshine, play in the sprinkler, jump on the trampoline, and ride her horse? I realize now, I would have done the exact same thing. Let the girl play. After that eye-opening experience, I began wearing SPF 30 on my face every single day and I slather it up every time I’m going to be outside. It was and still can be a nuisance, but I now realize that hopefully it will be worth it. One, when I DON’T get skin cancer. And two, when all those tanned chicks look like leather, I’ll still have beautiful skin at age 50. Fingers crossed!

Later in life, I randomly came across an article written about “gingerism.” Yes, it’s supposedly a legitimate form of discrimination primarily in Britain. It’s considered a huge insult to refer to someone as a “ginger.” (I personally L-O-V-E the term and would L-O-V-E it if more people called me that. I see it as a term of endearment and, more than likely, sheer jealousy. But, then again, I’ve never suffered some form of discrimination. It’s even the name of my imaginary shoe boutique that I hope to open when I come into obscene amounts of money. Apologies for the aside.) People were quoted discussing all the ways their jobs and lives had been negatively affected by “gingerism.” They even went so far as to liken it to racism. I couldn’t help but laugh. Seriously? I wanted to jump on a plane to Britain, just to see how I was received. Would there be torch-wielding villagers waiting at Gate 7? Would rotten apples and spit be flung upon my perfectly coordinated, stylish, yet still comfortable, flight ensemble? Needless to say, I opted not to test my theory at that time. I’ll report back when I do.

Through the magic of Facebook, I was reminded of the infamous Ginger Kids episode of South Park today. Twice. It was a sign. I finally came around to watching the Ginger Kids episode a while back and just re-watched it today. Again, hilarious in my book, even if some did not find it so. Apparently, after the show’s airing, an informal National Kick a Ginger Day was formed in Canada and students were kicked numerous times at school and were sent home covered in bruises. Wow. As if redheaded kids don’t suffer enough! Back to the episode. I, folks, suffer from what could be considered a severe case of gingervitis. I do, however, have a soul. I think. (muahaha) Sometimes I wish I was a Daywalker (those redheads Cartman says do not have the fair skin and freckles and are therefore not harmed by the sun). So, in the summer, I do have that wish when everywhere I look there’s another bronze body. And I hate. Repeat, hate. Sunscreen. Those of you that slap on a mere SPF 15 or less and then immediately jump in the pool just. don’t. get. it. Never can. But once the miserable heat of summer is gone and fall and winter are sliding in, I once again embrace my fair skin and freckles. There’s something about the contrast between my hair and skin that I’ve grown to love. At times, it can be quite striking. And striking is not normally an adjective I would use to describe myself. So, if on the rarest of occasions, I can achieve even a glimmer of that, then it’s worth it.

Speaking of fall and winter, I’ve found a shade of red I want to try out for this year. I used to be opposed to coloring my hair, as I thought it would be sacrilegious and a slap in God’s face to tamper with the colors he so expertly blended on this head of mine. But, I then realized, he wouldn’t have also given me the fair skin and freckles that can pull off multiple shades of red, nor would he have allowed scientists the ability to manufacture said color. So, there goes that moral quandary.

I consider it a blessing to be a ginger. It’s one of the things that make me unique, so for that, I’m thankful. I can only hope that I have a little ginger kid of my own one day on whom to impart all of my hard-earned appreciation and love of the rarity that is being a redhead.

Some good redhead quotes:

“Connect the dots. Redhead with freckles included. Two players required.” :)

“Blondes are noticed. Redheads are remembered.”

“A face without freckles is like a night without stars.”

“It takes balls, passion, and intelligence to love a redhead.” (I obviously have yet to find a guy who possesses all 3 of those qualities.)

“Wow, the angels must have loved her the most!” (In reference to my freckles coming from angel kisses.) -Addie Sykora, age 4

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead." -Lucille Ball

“You’d never change your hair. It’s half your personality!” -Will to Grace