Oh, Lydia! What have you done?
Um … what do you mean?
Oh, Lydia, your hair!
Do you like it?
Like it? Lydia, why did you dye your beautiful red hair?
That’s why: it wasn’t beautiful.
I think your hair looked beautiful, and I’m part of “everyone”.
Oh, Mom, you have to think I’m beautiful. You’re my Mom. And besides … you have to like red hair because Dad has red hair.
Oh, Lydia. I just can’t believe you did this. And where did you get the dye?
I bought it with my allowance.
Oh, Lydia. Well, what happened?
All the kids at school make fun of my red hair. They call me “carrot top” and “clown face”.
Now c’mon, kiddo. You know about “sticks and stones may break my bones…”
“… But names can never hurt me”? But those names do hurt, Mom.
Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry your feelings were hurt. But why would you pay attention to such ignorant words? Words can’t take away your beauty.
Well, if you know…
Mom, you just don’t understand.
I think I do.
I do. When I was about your age, I liked a boy named Hobert.
Don’t smirk, young lady. He couldn’t help his name. Anyway…I really liked him and I wanted him to ask me to the Fall Dance. But my friend Mary Jo found out he liked blondes. So, I dyed my hair blonde – or I tried to.
You dyed your hair?
Yes, I did.
Wow, Mom. Awesome.
Not so awesome, Lyddie. I got the dye instructions wrong and ended up with purple hair.
Wow, that must have been something. Did Hobert notice?
Did he ever. He pointed and laughed at me every time we passed in the halls.
What a jerk.
Yes, he was a jerk. And at least I found that out; that’s the only good thing that came of trying to dye my hair. On top of having purple hair, my Mom really got upset about my hair and grounded me until the purple color grew out, so I wasn’t able to go to the dance anyway.
So, you do understand.
I guess so, Lydia. It’s just that… I wish you could see how beautiful you are and not let someone else’s words define you.
I just… well, sometimes I just don’t like my hair, either.
I don’t know. It’s just so bright.
Well, you’re a bright girl.
Oh, Mom. It’s just that my skin is so pale, and I’ve got all these dumb freckles. And I might officially be a redhead, but my hair is kind of orangey-red. I just don’t feel pretty sometimes.
Lydia, believe me: you’re beautiful. Look within yourself: you’re kind, and generous and sweet. That’s true beauty.
But nobody else thinks that.
Anybody who counts thinks that.
Oh, Mom. You’re such a Mom.
What else would I be?
You know what I mean.
Lydia, here’s the thing: a lot of people don’t like how they look. That’s just the way it is. But you have to find things about yourself you can appreciate.
Well, as for your hair… it may be the color of carrots or clowns, but it’s also one of the colors of a sunset.
Wow, I never thought of that.
Well, think of it. Your hair is also the color of a shiny new penny.
That’s pretty cool.
Your hair is the color of autumn leaves and campfires and calico kittens: all beautiful things.
Well… when you put it that way, I guess my hair isn’t so awful; it’s just really hard when people say mean things.
I know, sweetie.
So, you’re not mad? I’m not grounded?
Oh, Lydia… I’m not mad; just disappointed. And, no, you’re not grounded. But I do need to take you over to Karen’s salon and have it dyed back. That color just doesn’t look right on you.
Awww…. well… OK, Mom. I guess if I’m getting my natural color back it’s better to go to a salon.
Yes, that’s true. After all, one purple-headed lady in the family is more than enough.
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