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Monday, August 29, 2011

differences

Growing up, I was the freak with red hair. And glasses. I was the "dork" who many people picked on. Sure, I have a small group of close friends. But, in general, I was often picked out and pointed out for my different hair color. Because of this, I spend years hating my hair. When I say hate, I mean hate. I wanted nothing more than to dye my hair blonde or brown and call it a day. My mom would have none of that. There was no way that hair dye was touching my head so long as I was under her roof.

Ironically, when I went to college, the concept of dying my hair faded away. Instead of jumping right into a hairdresser's chair, I jumped into a tattoo chair and got my first ink (that's an entirely different blog post). But I no longer had this burning desire to be like everyone else. In fact, I was beginning to like having red hair. Women would complement me when I went to get my hair cut, saying things like, "I would DIE to have your hair color" or "I wish they could bottle up that shade of red." Guys complemented, too. There was something satisfying about being different.

When doctors first diagnosed me with infertility, I knew that it would change everything. I, like most other women with infertility, spent months - years - wishing that I were just like everyone else. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to snap my fingers and have a child? Wouldn't it be nice to have a "little mistake"?

Somewhere along the way, I began to realize that being different wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I listened as women talked about how much they hated being pregnant, and I felt relief that it wasn't me saying those things. I listened when parents complained about how irritating their children were, and I wondered if they knew how good they had it.

Being different didn't need to mean being an outcast. It meant that I would always have an alternate perspective. In some ways, it might mean being more appreciative of what it means to be a mom. But in others, I think it might mean understanding that motherhood should not be the only thing that defines you - much like infertility. I view motherhood much differently than I used to because I AM different. It's times like now that I'm grateful for those experiences as a child, for being teased about my hair color. It's helps me to accept the fact that, in many aspects of my life, I simply won't be "just like" everyone else. It helps me to appreciate the uniqueness of me, of my situation.

I now embrace being "a ginger." Being a ginger prepared me for a lifetime of being different.

19 comments:

Dawn said...

You have a great attitude. That’s how we all need to think of ourselves when we are going through this battle. The way we have to start our families may be different but that is not a bad thing. Thank you for giving me a positive outlook to start my day.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Thanks for the dose of positivity, I need it today (see my blog.) My mom is a ginger and she's um, different/unique, so I am sure she would love this post! I feel like she goes out of her way to be different now.

My mom also approaches gingers in public settings and like high fives them about gingerness. Seriously. I never got it, but I guess it would like two infertiles on the street meeting up and just "getting" each other. ;)

Maria said...

Haha....cracking up at Glass Case's mom high-fiving other gingers. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! So glad that childhood could prepare you for your adult life in this way.....such a positive spin.

Rebecca said...

What a great perspective. And, so true. The differences about me that, as a child, made me geeky and nerdy and an outcast now make me an empathetic teacher. Infertility has done the same. If I'd gotten pregnant as soon as I started trying, I don't know who I would have been as a mom but I wouldn't appreciate it as much as I will when it happens now.

Rebecca said...

(and, I love your hair... :) )

AnotherDreamer said...

It really does make you rethink normalcy and how people react to their surroundings. Great post.

Jen said...

This is a great post! Very well-written as usual. I just got my hair colored (again), and asked for more red in it, as I love it that way.
I had lunch with my mom, and she asked "Did you mean for it to look red like that?".

Yes, yes I did :-)

Jill said...

Thanks for that post. It's really good to be reminded about the few positives.

And by the way, I love gingers too. My husband is one and I really hope to help the ginger population by having one of our own.

erika said...

Yet, another wonderful post I want to bookmark for future references.
Katie, you are such a beautiful person, inside and out!

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

I tried to dye my hair red once and it turned out pinkish orange and I cried! Enjoy having beautiful hair and being different!

Stephanie said...

I love the eloquent way that you stated this all! I always loathed being IF, but never found anything positive about it but I guess I didn't have to let it get me down. Being different is a good thing and helps us to relate to others who are different as well. It would be so boring if we were all the same. Thanks for that!

Sushigirl said...

I love this post. It's odd, but I was toying with posting something similar. I never fitted in at school, and sometimes I wonder if that prepared me for IF. Or if I was always sort of fated to not fit in. It's not entirely a bad thing!

Kelly said...

Love this post and your red hair :)

theportofindecision said...

Being a ginger (which I'm not) is totally one of those things that sucks when you're a kid and is awesome when you're an adult! Unless you look like a Hobbit like my BIL.

Jem said...

It's all about accepting the hand we are dealt, isn't it?

Of course those moms who complain about their kids are douce-bags and aught to be shot (metaphorically, of course.

I'm just saying!

foxy said...

Hey Katie, I just had to say that I LOVE seeing your Hope Award bling on your site. Congratulations again!
-Foxy

Mina said...

I'm a long time lurker, coming out to say I loved this post on so many levels. My baby boy has red hair, and gets SO much attention from the general public, it is insane! It's always positive attention. I wonder what he will deal with when he gets older, because he is going to be different from most other kids, being a "ginger" AND having two moms. Lucky for him, his two moms don't care about conforming to the status quo, so hopefully he will grow up embracing the qualities that make him so unique. I adore his red hair, and hope it doesn't change color. It reminds me of my mom who recently passed away, she had red hair.

Who wants to be like everyone else? Not me!

Calmantha said...

I completely relate. I was always the different one (but due to personality and not just looks), even among my few friends. And since I'm still friends with those same people, I'm still the different one. One of them has 2 kids, one is going to pop this month, and one started ttc 3 months ago, so I'm waiting for her to announce her pregnancy any day now. Thanks for putting a positive spin on things.

bodegabliss said...

My sister is a redhead and used to wear glasses (but now wears contacts), and I think she's the most beautiful woman in the world. Also, a couple of years ago I dyed my hair red and absolutely loved it. I think I can pull it off because I'm blonde, but man, I think about it all the time and want to dye it again!

I love your outlook and loved this post. :-)