By: Megan Vaught

My journey to loving my unique features is unlike most. This is my personal story. This is how I overcame the insecurities that every redhead suffers from.

There really is no other way to describe the trudging battle that every redhead goes through from a young age. It is in every bit of the journey. There are several reasons why growing up as a redhead is difficult. For one, you look different than others. For young females, fitting in can be one of the most difficult factors of socializing. The biggest issue with trying to fit in is that you compare yourself to other people.

I remember trying over and over to achieve a bronze tan and light hair. I knew this would only result in an uncomfortable sunburn, as well as tons of freckles. Being a shy and rather introverted person, drawing attention to myself was the last thing I want to do. This being said, there is no missing my glowing skin and orange mane in any crowd.

Until I was about 14, I compared myself to every tan girl that I came across. I tried tanning beds, only to realize that they left me sore all over after 3 minutes of UV rays. When I turned 15, I was diagnosed with Lupus. Initially, I had never heard of this disease and had no idea of how much I was going to learn about it. This chronic illness can cause your immune system to attack any part of your body, including your hair follicles. Not only does Lupus attack your hair follicles, but it also causes super sensitivity to the sun.

READ: Why My Red Hair Saved Me From The Effects of Cancer 

I could go ahead and wave goodbye to that bronze skin I was trying to achieve. Suddenly, the red hair that I had always wanted to change was beginning to diminish. Before I knew it, my hair was so thin that I couldn’t do anything with it. On top of this, the treatment for chronic Lupus is Chemotherapy.

Of course, this treatment did nothing to help hanging on to the little hair I had left. Once I got control of my disease and my hair began to grow back, I was determined to finally fall in love my locks. I learned many things through my journey with Lupus. Most of all, I learned that red hair is precious and can be taken away without an understanding of why. Also, being a redhead makes you unique; so many people want to achieve a natural-looking shade of red hair and can’t.

The biggest and best part of the story is I finally have embraced my pale, freckly skin and golden locks. I realized that comparing myself to others was doing nothing to love the skin I’m in. In the end, I learned that I needed to embrace all of my awesome, unique aspects and finally feel honored to be part of 2% of the redhead population. I wish you all the same outcome! And, most of all, Rock it Like a Redhead each and every day.

Photo © Megan Vaught