accountability · green · me · something new · wrong

what is wrong with people?

Seriously. That’s an actual question:

What is wrong with people?

Let me tell you what prompts this question first, before I repeat my it. I color my hair on a semi-regular basis. Normally, I color it some variety of red, because I like it. (It helps that I have the skin tone to pull it off, i.e. “ghostly white”. I’m ridiculously pale. It used to annoy me, but I’ve come to accept it. It is what it is.) This past week, I colored it. The base color is a bright red (not crayon red), with dark brown highlights (my “natural” hair color). In my mind, I call it “Cherry Coke.” I’ve had it this color before. I love it, and like I said, I can pull it off. Is it brighter than my God-given color? Yes. Is it still within the realm of possibility for a human being to have naturally? Also yes.

This time, I also added three streaks of emerald green: one above each ear that aren’t visible when my hair is down, and one inch-wide chunk on the top. My favorite color is green. My favorite shade of green is emerald (also, conveniently, my birthstone, but that’s another matter). I love how it turned out! The reactions have ranged from “That looks great! You’re so brave!” to “Did you do something to your hair?” (That one from a co-worker who is sometimes so oblivious to everything around her that it’s ridiculous.) My response to that was “Nope. I’ve had this green my whole life.” I’m calling this particular color combo “Poison Ivy.” I digress….

Yesterday, I was in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, headed into the store, and this middle-aged woman walks towards me. I glance at her, and realize she has an expression on her face that can only be described as “intense disgust crossed with confusion.” She’s looking at me. I’m momentarily confused. I’m wearing workout clothes (long shorts, tee-shirt). I don’t have makeup on (because it’s like 7 a.m. and who am I trying to impress?).  But why is this woman looking at me like I’m some strange bug she wishes would just drop dead? My hair. It can only be my hair. This woman is so intent on staring at me that she slows down, and almost gets hit by a car. But she still doesn’t stop giving me this look.

Now, I didn’t say a word. I just smiled at her and went on. But, seriously? What is wrong with people? If I see someone with an out-of-the-ordinary hair color, I might look again, to be sure of what I’m seeing, but I’m fairly certain “revulsion” is not the look I’m wearing. (Granted, I don’t see this often in North Central Texas, but still. And have you seen the pictures if you search for “bright hair color” on Pinterest? Gorgeous!)

I try very hard to not judge people based on either their appearance or my first impressions of them. I’ve been very wrong before, and I don’t like making random judgments like that. So why do people feel like it’s perfectly okay to judge total strangers based on physical appearance? You don’t know them. You don’t know what they’re like. You haven’t walked in their footsteps. What gives YOU the right to make any sort of judgment about a person you don’t know? Even more importantly, why do you think it’s okay to not only judge someone, but judge them so intently that you almost get hit by a car? Seriously? Was my hair color really that offensive? And what business is it of anyone else what color I dye my hair? It’s growing on my head, after all!

I ask again, what is wrong with people? We do not have the right to force our opinions—on anything—on anyone. So why do we keep doing it? What, in our culture, encourages this completely selfish and self-centered attitude?

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