I never imagined I'd have a daughter with pink hair, let alone an eleven year old one. Then why? WHY would I let her do this?! Well, let me tell you my random musings on the subject of pink haired children.
Sage has always had opinions on fashion. always. When we went to the library for story time as a 2 year old she would sit quietly on the floor at Ms. Anette's feet, and at the end she would say quietly, "Miz Amet... I lika you shoes." As a toddler she noticed things, she appreciated colors and fabrics and textures. It was fascinating to me! She would suggest I add a certain scarf to my outfit or switch shoes and she loved to pick out Mr. John's ties on Sunday.
Where did she get this keen sense of style? Mr. John and I are no fashionistas. Mr. John thinks it is painful to clothes shop for longer than 15 minutes every year or two and while I like to thrift shop and find vintage clothes, I am pretty hopeless in the fashion department. As Sage got older, she would continue to surprise me with her ensembles and what she would go to school wearing. She would get an idea to dress a certain way and go with it. In contrast, I remember a particular day in my childhood when I was in fourth grade and I took a big risk and wore striped pants to school. I was uncomfortable and uneasy the entire day even calling my mom to see if she would bring me different pants. She wouldn't. I considered peeing my pants. I didn't. The funny thing was nobody even said anything about my pants! My insecure feelings were completely due to my lack of confidence to pull off, in what my mind, was a daring look. To see this quiet confidence in my middle child surprised me.
I worried as she got closer to middle school. The influx of new students at a new school who might not "get" Sage's green corduroy bellbottoms or her red cowboy boots had my mama senses tingling. Along with her unique fashion sense, Sage is what one would describe as "diminutive" or what we like to call "fun size". Extremely petite. Her 9 year old brother, Denver is several inches taller than her much to his glee. How would she stand up to these larger, judgmental, and fictional kids of my imagination?
I'm not sure about you, but in my day, middle school was a place where kids took every opportunity to identify uniqueness and deem it as "greater or less than" on the spot and worthy of ridicule. Had things changed? Were 11- 14 year olds kinder and gentler these days? Sadly, I knew they weren't. My oldest daughter Bailey was going into her third and final year of middle school and I was sad to see some of her quirks had been squelched by the middle school grind. No more fun hairstyles because her friends had informed her they didn't look cool or that her hair looked better straightened. Certain articles of clothing instantly pushed out of the usual rotation because of a comment from a classmate. Nothing serious, and Bailey is an amazing artistic soul herself who marches to the beat of her own drum, but I was sad to see some things she enjoyed left behind because of other's opinions.
The time has come for Sage to walk the halls of middle school schlepping a backpack that she could probably fit inside, and wearing whatever strikes her fancy on any given morning. Some days she's a little bit country, some days a little rock n' roll with a leather jacket she curated from a thrift store, and some days she looks like a perky miniature news anchor with a pencil skirt, her hair in a high bun and some pumps. The school year is starting to wind down and completion of her first year of middle school is less than 2 months away. How did it all go over? How do the kids react to our little fashion plate?
As you can imagine, she gets a lot of comments and the negative ones are always the loudest. She gets picked on about both her clothes and her size regularly. Sometimes it gets her a little down, but she has good friends who stand up for her when she needs it and most importantly, she stands up for others and herself and doesn't let other's opinions change her. If she gets a feeling to wear fake glasses and suspenders one day, she is going to rock that look without changing her mind halfway through the day or ask me to come bring her new clothes. Sage's style is a part of who she is, and she knows what that is at eleven? I applaud that.
So... the hair. Yes, her hair is now a gorgeous pink ombre as of yesterday. I don't know how she will accessorize and coordinate with the new shade, but I know that how she does it will undoubtably surprise me. I see her pink hair as a celebration. I want to encourage her creativity and her sense of style. If that means she has pink hair for awhile, I think that is okay. Does that mean no rules? Of course not. Sage knows what is expected of her. She knows clothes and hair color is a fun way to express herself, but they are temporary and aren't what is most important.
Some might see pink hair as no big deal. Some might see it as a bad mothering decision. I guess my old insecurities are showing because I felt the need to blog about it. Defend my decision? Yeah, I think so. Unlike Sage, I worry a little too much about what people think. Today I randomly decided to torture myself and look at the insights and statistics on my Instagram profile and I saw I lost 80 followers after I posted that pink-haired picture yesterday evening. I'm putting on my big-girl striped pants and not going to let it bother me... but I might change my mind and need to call my mom.
I guess what I want to say is: whether you think pink hair is horrendous or ridiculous or gorgeous... I hope you will be nice to the pink-haired. The green-haired. The people who look different or act differently than you. No matter how old, a lot of us are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. I can't help but wonder how Sage's first pink-haired day at school went...