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He Would Have Laughed

I have always had a strong distaste for being a redhead.

In addition to an unadmirable pain tolerance, my misfortune to not be born in Ireland or similar venue means that red hair is a rarity. In grammar school, we didn’t even so much as have a blonde. Everyone had black hair or brown – minus that quirky redhead in the corner. Inevitably, I was in a corner as a result. A defensive position ad hoc was all but required. I wasn’t so much a problem child in school but a problem for teachers. I was quickly bored and prone to ignore instructions. In 4th grade, I was basically given┬ácarte blanche to do whatever I want so long as I was quiet. While the terms of the deal were fluid, I effectively had the same agreement with every teacher I ever had. Even in college, it was write the paper and try not to make anyone cry during group conversations.

Professionally…I have always been in the corner. Isolationist not by the same elements, at least. I’ve worked too many jobs where I’ve never known the name of anyone else in that office. I’ve worked too many jobs where the title is irrelevant and the pay is non-existent and so any concept of perks was much the same. I’m an outgoing person – sometimes – but not at first. It’s too anxious an act to put on most of the time. Alcohol helps to lubricate my nature to hide but doesn’t do it on it’s own. It’s about comfort and I rarely find it.

Ironically, there are three times I will literally hide in my hair: when I’m nervous, when I’m uncomfortable and when I’m talking to someone I feel is smarter than me and I feel intimidated. As a result, I’ve spent most of my professional career hiding my hair. I’ll never be the smartest person in the room and I’ll probably never feel like I actually fit in somewhere. I suspect I’ll always be in my proverbial corner, likely hiding in my hair.

It would be nice to feel like it was a choice.

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