A Letter to the Redhead Girl in the Hair Salon: It’s Time to Shine

Head in book, I wasn’t paying much attention, but the woman’s reply to my hairdresser caught my attention.

“Yes, isn’t it? She has beautiful hair just like her momma’s. It’s special hair. It is really great hair. It is beautiful.”

Mom was overcompensating for something. I had to see, because her reply to the suggestion that daughter looked just like her — well, it was overkill. Something was wrong.

I looked up to see two blazing-hot red heads.

I thought they looked great. Daughter didn’t agree.

Her tapping foot, squinty eyes and rock-hard face said it all:

RedHead Girl

– I am tired of looking different.

– I am tortured in this body.

– I feel ugly.

– Mom doesn’t get it.

The Looking Glass

Trying not to stare, I couldn’t stop watching this maybe 13-year old girl. Every snip of the scissor made me want to hope out of my seat. It made me want to run over to her and say, “You can’t be Ramona Quimby! You just can’t. Just leave your hair long; it will do you well! It shines.”

Apparently, she didn’t get my silent eye-language.

Discouraged, everything in me wanted to lean in and explain something else. I wanted to implore, “I get you girl. I know what it is to hate myself. I know what it is to fear going the hair salon, to school and through life. Pre-flat-irons, I couldn’t live a day without looking like the straight-faced mugshot of the Frizz Ease do-not-look-like-this commercial. I have always walked embarrassed. I have always sat humiliated.

Somehow, I wanted her to know — she had a sister who understood. With no mirrors between us, I didn’t want her to only see her reflection, but mine, the reflection of a woman who has come out of the long dark tunnel — alive. I wanted her to see the reflection of an older gal who got what it was like to be younger. I wanted her to see how time restructures a heart.

I wanted her to see the future. Not through the eyes of fear, like her mom offered (no offense to mom because I parent in fear all. the. time.), but through the eyes of compassion.

For, this young beauty’s face said it all, her stylist was successfully cutting off her problem, but he was hardly getting at the root of the issue.

Dear Sweet-Faced Red-Head,

I didn’t talk to you. I was afraid, much like you. What do you say after all? Do you just walk up and say, “You know what? I hate the hair salon too. It gives me anxiety. It puts a spotlight on my chair and designates me as the odd one.”

The salon would think I am nuts. But, maybe that is just what I should have done, because, who cares what they think? Who cares if the world thinks you and I look like freaks? Who cares if who we are is just a little too bright, or too different? Or too us?

Who is to say that who we were created wrong? Perhaps, us, odd pegs, are exactly what the world needs to see to know it doesn’t have to be perfectly round too. Perhaps, then, we women, in unison, will drop our self-demands, we will drop our self-reproach and we will pick up self-acceptance.

Have you ever considered this? You and I, we are the beginning of change.

We aren’t worthless, we are worthy of a mighty cause. Don’t lose hope.

I know you probably don’t want to be a trailblazer for the shamed and pained girls. I get this. You just want to be loved. Me too. Yet, what we have is the greater gift, because while everyone else is being propped up by compliments and conditional responses, we have the opportunity to forge inner strength that is dependent on no one.

And when that kind of strength goes out in the world, well, it roars. Ferociously. Powerfully. It makes a sound in response to every naysayer. It beats its chest with a sound of found love. I found it in Jesus.

I found it through his love that doesn’t stop pounding my heart with the rhythm of: You are beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

What it all comes down to for me is: If Creator created me beautiful, who is man to declare me otherwise?

Who I am is not how I look. It is how I am his. Loved. Adored. Cherished. Not condemned. Not shamed. Not humiliated. Not laughed at. Not the only one.

So, lift that pixie-cut head of yours, grab your vibrant spirit and know, you weren’t created to walk in fear, you were created to love.

You weren’t created to break, you were created to stride, like no one else.

You weren’t created to live shunned, your life has only just begun.

You weren’t created to carry baggage forever, but to throw it at the world and to show your best.

It doesn’t matter if the world can’t handle you, you show them. They need to see.

You know what happens when a girl gets believing in herself? The world starts believing her. They start paying attention. The “beautiful” ingrained in her, becomes ingrained in their mind, because they also feel ugly. People can’t help notice one who breaks the form of a pre-cut mold. They call this kind of woman, not “pretty,” but “magnetic”.

So, sweet-faced red-head, just be you — and I’ll be me. And we’ll live free, knowing that beyond the looking glass, you and me? We see each other, our eyes connect, and even though there are decades between us, our mentalities are united. For, our plans extend far greater than any dead weight growing out of our head.

Today, I won’t let how I look dictate how I feel.

Today, I won’t let once-overs, tell me that my good in this world is over.

Today, I won’t live like a standby, because I feel like I am not good enough to get by.

Shine, let your hair down and shine.

Kelly Balarie

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Kelly Balarie
Kelly Balarie, a cheerleader of faith on her blog, www.purposefulfaith.com, is passionate about encouraging people like herself - ones who find themselves stuck in the pits of life. Step-by-step, word-by-word, her dream is that together, as uniters in all things God, fear can be left in the dust and great love can emerge unhindered.