I am Redhead

Wait, you’re a redhead?

little red

Me with much redder hair as a child; Even then, still typing away!

Lately I’ve had a few people express surprise when I mention my red hair.  This has surprised me as my hair color has been a defining feature for as long as I can remember.  As a redhead, I have stood out in groups by virtue of having such a unique hair color.  I have been teased about it more times than I can count.  I have identified with the Lucille Balls, Ariels, and Anne Shirleys of the world.  Despite hating my hair color when I was younger (especially in those adolescent years when the last thing you want to be is different), I have come to love and appreciate my red hair.  I’m still working on loving my freckles (I can tolerate them), but my hair has become an identity for me.

So, what does it mean when your identifying feature is no longer identifiable?

Honestly, I did not realize how much I was attached to my hair.  When people question my hair color I am surprised to find myself defensive.  I hold it up for them.  I point out how it is really obvious in the sun.  I show them photos of me when I was younger.  I am incredulous?  How can you not see the red?  Sure, my hair is more auburn than true red, but it’s still in that family.  Right?

Part of my path this last decade has been seeing who I really am and learning to love my true self.  It has not come easily.  However, learning to not just tolerate, but love my red hair has been significant for me.  Perhaps more significant than it needed to be.  The truth is that I find identity in my hair.  I love how it makes me unique.  I appreciate how it made me fit in a bit when I lived in the UK.  I glory in the fact that people pay lots of money to dye their hair red and I get it for free.  I have a fiery temper to go with my fiery hair.  I like standing out.

When I was in seminary, one of my professors had us go through a series of prayers each morning to remind ourselves of who we truly are.  One of the prayers had us renounce our identities.  My primary identity is not daughter, sister, retreat planner, writer, nerd, or spiritual director.  My truest identity is that of Christ’s loved child.

Today, I am reminded that my primary identity is not found in being a redhead.  And I’m learning to be ok with that.

Rancho Capistrano, Retreat Center, Jen.


In case you’re curious, here’s an excerpt from the prayer:

Affirm that you are a finite spirit.

a. Disregard all the potential idols of your soul. Expose and invalidate

the false identities, which give you a false sense of who you are. (Confess

any idolatry.)

At the core of my spirit, I am not a father or mother. I am not a husband or a wife. I am not a daughter or a son. I am not a friend. I am not a student. I am not a kind person. I am not an angry person. I’m not a (fill in the blank).

b. Affirm the reality of your soul’s true identity.

I was created for union with God. I came into the world as a naked spirit, longing for perfect love. I am now clothed with Christ’s righteousness and long for a deepening oneness with God. I am precious in God’s eyes. He holds me with an everlasting embrace. God calls me His beloved. That is who I truly am. (Confess any idolatry.)


Excerpt from PRAYER OF RECOLLECTION, by Dr. John H. Coe,  Director, Institute for Spiritual Formation, Talbot School of Theology

One thought on “I am Redhead

  1. Jen, I so appreciate your writings! I am also a redhead and identified with much that you shared. I was actually considered a carrot top as a kid, but have since had it change to a lighter shade of red and now mixed with blonde weave. Well…. honestly, also mixed with white that I call blonde too! 🙂

    I enjoy your honesty, your ability to write and in this post, your pictures too! CUTE! Looks like you were well onto keyboarding from an early start!

    I wanted to mention briefly that I valued your heart and thoughts also to do with your brother’s attempted suicides. I wanted to write you about it all, but at the time I read it, it hit too close to home for me personally. I wanted to hug your brother and tell him he is not alone. In fact, I believe there are so many of us who struggle although under guise, sometimes very good at hiding and so the feeling alone in this struggle only magnify our “aloneness” pain topped with a good dose of shame. My tangles have helped to make me earnest for the intimacy of Christ. He’s the only One who sees the raw me and still desires me, even longs for me – a wonder I’m still trying to fathom. I’ve been on pursuit to KNOW Him and not just about Him and I’m learning by experience just how much He loves me and does not condemn me. He reaches forward and outward knowing the very intricacies of my heart, even far better than I understand them myself even though I’m quite excellent at striving to understand.

    May God bless you, your brother and your parents. Your folks heartache must be severe at times and yet, treasure can come out of darkness. There is a profound richness that is birthed in the heart of despair and I hope your brother will soon find out he has great purpose and place in this world of ours. We need him more than he recognizes. My pain comes out in my writing. It’s an outlet I thank God for and literally pray for your brother, that God will show him a healthy outlet for his own pain as well as the personal discovery of how real our Father’s love is for him in a way that he can FEEL.

    May God continue to bless and grow your true gift of writing and expression!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *