By: Alyssa Showalter

Where I stand, being different is good. This is what red hair does. It sets you apart from the sea of blondes and brunettes. I love my red hair because I am set apart from the crowd. Some days, I do like to just blend in and relax. But most days I love standing next to my family and friends, being the only redhead there. It makes me feel special. Not another copy from the machine.

It wasn’t always like this, and when I was a kid I hated my hair. When I saw other redheads, they only reminded me of how I looked and that I was, according to the big kids in my neighborhood, ugly and unwanted. I can’t remember but I think at one point a little boy with red hair had a crush on me, but I’m not sure and don’t even know why he liked me. Sadly though, I gave him the cold shoulder because of his red hair. It was a vicious cycle that caused me to fight the inevitable for years. I was, and always will be, redheaded. My freckles, no matter how hard I scrubbed, wouldn’t fade. My eyes change color depending on my mood or time of day, from green, blue, and grey. I only wanted to sit in my corner and be left alone. Hard to do that when you are a living and breathing neon sign that attracts attention everywhere you go. As a teen, that can be hard to deal with, and so, my choice of clothes was to clash with my hair. My clothes screamed that I wasn’t clean, and may have not showered in a week. Wearing lots of black shirts with faces on them. It was so people commented more on my shirts than my hair.

EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR-6

Despite my fashion choices, I still got attention and dealt with my teachers and adults admiring my hair. On occasion I felt someone gently pull on my hair when I wasn’t looking. Forcing me to pull my hair into a gross looking bun or ponytail. All of my effort, I was anonymously nominated for “Best Hair” during my senior year of high school.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I stopped fighting and deep down, I knew I shouldn’t hate my hair. I changed my clothes, wearing dresses and skirts. Started playing with different hair styles and even put on make up for the first time. I get the biggest compliments. Any time someone compliments my hair, even if it is to ask if it’s natural, I become really happy. I was born with a rare gift and I should embrace it.

READ: I’m a Redhead + I’ll Own It All Day

I realize now, that when I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to be like everyone else. Which helped me stand out even more. My red hair is my identity, and by accepting that, I have accepted who I am. I love my hair and I love who I am, because there is nothing wrong with being different.

Happy National Love Your Red Hair Day + Rock it like a Redhead!