Lately, people seem to be complaining about how much is changing so quickly, how the world used to be a better place and life used to be less complicated. For those who really do not like change, I have good news. Because today, as I was running (oké I admit that changed, I never used to run) I learned that although lots is happening on a macrolevel, on a microlevel not much has changed at all. As I was out for my run, I found myself on a cycling lane that high school kids use to get home. So evidently, I ran into some young high schoolers, and as I did, it happened… I got flashbacks.. They actually scolded at me. I did not really hear what they said (since I was definitely digging the beat of my music), but it was clearly about the color of my hair. And the tone was not all that nice. And that took me back… Because I can tell you, this was not the first time in my life high schoolers have called me names. Hell, it was not even the second time. To be honest, I have no idea how many times it has happened. But this incident got me back down memory lane again. About 17 years ago, I would get scolded at every day as I was cycling to school (resulting in her literally kicking my but once I decided to stand up for myself, but that is a side story). 16 years ago kids threw empty cans at me daily when I was cycling back from school. All through my youth I would get called a traffic light, a light tower or a witch by total strangers. About 6 years ago young adults would still call me names in the bus (thanks to South Park the dictionary has expanded (gingers have no soul, etc.)). This summer I wandered around the beach when a grown person started yelling Pippi at me and got mad when I did not react. And still, every time I pass a school I get called all sorts of things.
I get it though, being a redhead makes you distinctively different, and all the other person really desires is to be part of a group. They do not want to be the one that people embarrass or scold at. So by harassing me they create a group they belong to, and I clearly do not. (To be honest, wisdom comes with age, this was not the way I would look at it as a teenager). It is funny, though, there are multiple articles about how redheads are different genetically, and in character. I wonder, though, whether they are actually different in character or whether they are just treated differently which has characterized them.
However, above all, today’s incident got me thinking, not much has changed over the years. I still cannot go out for a run without being scolded at. The funny part is though, that people still find it quite normal to bully the redhead. As if it is not that bad… So what could we do about it? Maybe raise our children to be better, to treat people (who seem different) with more respect? Or maybe, maybe we -the redheads- should do what every other group does that feels mistreated. We should strike, rebel, act out, create an action group 😉.. (maybe we should make sure you cannot buy any red velvet cake anymore because that is insulting😉)). Because let’s be honest that is the new hype.. And then I realized, we are actually already doing something. Every year, a full weekend, the redheads strike. And instead of striking against the people who (have) hurt them, they decide to unite to celebrate, and to embrace and love themselves for what they are, redheads. I do not think I have said this before in my entire life, but today I was actually proud to be a redhead. Not because it is unique, not because it is super pretty, not because I am basically a unicorn, but because we have managed to counter hatred from others with love and compassion towards ourselves. So we might not be able to change the world immediately, we actually can change the way we look at it.
And to all of those who think the world has changed so quickly, don’t worry.. Change takes more time than you think…
As for me, maybe, just maybe, I might join this redhead event next year for the first time in my life. Just to strike. 😉