I’m a red head.
It’s something that has defined me all of my life and something that, at times, I have resented. Then there are other times when I’ve tried to embrace it.
I think here in first grade I was still embracing my redheadedness.
And the freckles. And that cute little sailor dress.
This was before right around the time that classmates started to point out my individuality, as I like to call it. In reality they were teasing me for having red hair. And freckles. I think they left the dress alone.
Kids would tease other kids for not having a “cool” lunch box, let alone having a hair color possessed by only about 2% of the world’s population. I’ve heard, and been called, most all the nicknames: Red, Carrot Top, Strawberry Head, Fire, Candle Top, Rusty, Freckle Face, and the list goes on.
I was told growing up that the freckles were “angel kisses”. Grown ups will tell kids anything to make them feel better. I remember one time when I was about 12 years old, I heard or read somewhere that rubbing lemon juice on your freckles would cause them to fade away over time. I must have went through a couple dozen lemons that summer. Just for the record, it doesn’t work. All it really does is dry your skin out and attract bees.
As for the hair, I’ve never really tried to change it. During my 20’s and 30’s, I actually enjoyed the attention that I received for having red hair. It was one of the things that Hubby says attracted him. (Of course it could have been the lemons.) He said he had always been a big fan of the cartoon red heads growing up: Josie from Josie and the Pussycats, Daphne from Scooby Doo, Wilma Flintstone – just to name a few. The fact that he had a thing for cartoon redheads actually should have been a warning sign, now that I think about it. Hind sight being 20/20 and all.
Then, I turned 40 and the red hairs started to give way to their white sisters. I’ve been told that my grandmother, from whom I inherited the red hair, was white headed by the time she was in her mid 40’s. I firmly believe that had more to do with the 12 kids she had than anything else.
Anyway, 40 is about the time I became concerned and started helping out a little with some hair coloring. I still try to keep it as close to my natural color as possible. I am after all a red head and that’s part of my identity.
Twelve years ago I asked Christ to come into my life. I asked him to become a part of my identity. And since that time, I’ve tried to become someone that people will look at, and see as someone who embraces Jesus. Someone who is flawed, but who is praying and asking God for those flaws to fade away over time. I want my identity to be so closely tied to Him that when people see me coming, I want them to say, “Here comes that red-headed, Jesus loving woman.”
That smells like lemons.