Today as I was walking across campus, an older gentlemen stopped me and began with the words “I know this is going to sound weird…” Oh crap, I thought, a creepy old guy. I braced myself for some odd line I’d have to brush off before I continued my commute, but instead I found myself fascinated with what he said next. “This is going to sound weird, but I’ve been looking all over for you. I saw you on campus a couple of weeks ago & I’ve been looking for you ever since because I wanted to ask you about your hair.” Bear with me, this isn’t what it seems.
It turns out that he has a niece who is in high school & dyed her hair purple over the summer as a form of self expression, a better way to display her personality. However, when she returned to school this fall, she was extremely disheartened to find that instead of welcoming her back & applauding her courage to be who she wants, she was immediately written up.
In response, her uncle wanted to show her that there are other people in the world with brightly colored hair who have jobs and attend school and that, just maybe, the color of your hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re only fit for one thing. He told me he wanted to applaud my courage to stand out & that his niece views people like me as role models. I can’t even begin to describe how much this warms my heart. No one should ever be judged for the way they look. No one should ever feel their appearance makes them inadequate. At the end of the day, we’re all just ourselves and that’s really all we need to be. I urge you to never base your opinions of people solely on their exteriors, lest you miss out on what truly makes them lovely. Appearances may fade, but personalities last a lifetime. To the niece and anyone who has ever been in a situation similar to hers: Please never give up. I know it’s hard, but never stop letting your freak flag fly, never be afraid to be unapologetically you. Life is too short to not feel comfortable in your own skin. And hey, if you ever need anyone to give you convoluted pep talks like this one, I got your back. <3