Mark today’s date, friends, because it’s a VERY special day! I can now officially check off another item on my Writing Dreams Bucket List with my newest essay “Why I Didn’t Love My Red Hair Until After My Father Died” for Good Housekeeping. Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I’d have a personal essay in the beauty section, but I do and this is one I’m very proud of — I know, I say that all the time, but the ones about my father just hold extra special meaning for me.
It’s no secret that I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with my hair. I hated the redness of it, which always made me feel a little like Bozo without the face paint. Then after my father died, I noticed a not-so-subtle shift. I suddenly, well, loved it a lot more than before. I’d look in the mirror and see my father. It made me feel so close to him, like a tangible connection I’d always have with him.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt of the essay, and I love the photos they chose…
As I grieved his death, I finally saw my life through a new lens. More specifically, I looked in the mirror and my red hair looked different. This was the first time that I actually saw it for everything that it had been and everything that it could be.
Growing up, I always saw my hair as just one more thing that made me stand out, just like my physical disability and the fact that I barely crack the 3″10′ mark. It made me unique, and to me, unique was the kiss of death. I could easily be picked out of a crowd, and that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to blend in. To go unnoticed, to be just like everyone else. But little did I know that wanting to be someone else meant I’d risk losing the most important part of myself — the essence of what makes me, well, me.
I missed my father so much. With him gone, I wanted to fiercely hold tight to anything that would keep him with me. I could now see and appreciate the unique connection my red hair gave me. I began to see my red hair not as a Scarlet Letter, but as one of the lasting connections I’ll ever have with my father.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo