Friday, March 16, 2012

the power of pigtails

I've been playing around with drawing figures in my journal and Book of Days and I've noticed a couple of trends ...

Yes, the head are ginormous which says a lot about the part of my body that gets the most attention (hello brain, I know you've been overworked and I am doing my best to convince you to take early retirement ...)

But what I am really enjoying these days are pigtails and ponytails (known as doggy ears in our house):

I seem to be fixated upon them.

Which got me thinking about my hair and how my relationship with it has been less than loving or accepting. As a child, red hair was just about the absolute last thing I would ever have wanted for myself, only to be surpassed by freckles as most odious physical trait. (As a kid I wasn't buying the old "angel kisses" line - quit giving me messy kisses! was my precocious reaction.)

When you have red hair, you stand out and I very definitely wanted to blend in. Vanish really. I would fantasy about the day when I could buy myself a wig. Blonde or brunette, it didn't matter, the hair just had to be long and silky straight.

Silky is not a typical characteristic of red hair. In fact, red hair has the annoying tendency to draw added attention to itself by becoming puffy (as Cowgirl likes to call my hair), frizzly, kinky and curly. It seems to know I want to be smaller and so perversely it makes itself larger. It curls when I want it tame and becomes a heavy flop of straw when I want it curly.

It really does have a mind of its own.

As a redheaded girl the only options available to me as role models were Carol Burnett and Ginger from Gilligan's Island. Goofball (Lucille Ball) or Sex Kitten. For some inexplicable reason my mother felt compelled to tell me at an early age that there never had been a red headed Miss America because redheads were viewed as "hussies." (My mom bemoaned the transformation of her auburn tresses to mousy brown throughout her entire life which makes the hussy comment even more perplexing to me now that I consider it.)

Mary Magdalen is often depicted with red hair. As are clowns.

So I've suffered my red hair most of my life (The Husband claims it was what first attracted him to me - he had a thing for Ann Margaret "in her prime") but it is only now as the color is fading that I am finding myself embracing it and all that it represents.

I am reclaiming Red and embracing the power of pigtails. I am proudly waving my Ginger flag and all that it embodies: spunk (Pixies were thought to be red-haired) , individuality, independence, defiance. Less than four percent of the world's population are true redheads (and yes, there is one immodest way to prove one's true redness) and the rarity of red hair may account for the belief in Medieval times that redheads were witches.

Adam's first wife, Lilith, is also depicted with red hair. It seems unruly and powerful leaders and visionaries often were redheaded: Boudica (celtic warrioress) and Queen Elizabeth I along with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

But when I wear my hair in pigtails I am connecting with the heroine of my childhood who gave me that first taste of the possibilities inherent by proudly celebrating my hair's redness:

Yes, I've come home to Pippi Longstocking. The most powerful girl in the world. How could I ever have forsaken you?

Just don't call me Red. Ever. Unless you want to see me really enraged ...


  1. i for one LOVE your red hair.
    it must be different for boys. EVERY woman of a certain age. and even younger ones, covet my son's red hair.
    he for sure has the spunk, individuality, independence, defiance that goes with it. without a doubt. he's in good company, obviously.

  2. can we talk about how much i covet your red hair? when i've dyed/henna'd my hair...most of the time it was to a screaming shade of red. if you look at all of my goddess figures in my intuitive painting -- red hair. always, always, always...i'v been drawn to red hair.

    the most natural red i could claim is a strawberry blonde when i was a kid but it's darkened with age and now of course my awesome silver strands are sneaking in...

    oh yeah..and freckles? i was told they were a "sign of extreme beauty in some cultures" and no, i didn't buy it either....

    oh, much fodder for excavation here too...:)

    i LOVE your redness and i ADORE those pigtails/ponytails/dog ears....and am so glad you're claiming both.



  3. hooray for power pigtails. (my husband had a serious ann margaret thing going on too)

  4. ~i think we at some points in our life always want what we don't have...i too have colored my hair numerous times with red streaks or all over color and always wished i had been blessed with faerie kisses...i won't call you adorable as i often think one with true red hair and about Gorgeous...Radiant...Powerful and Strong!!! Here's to embracing your Beauty that has always been!!!

    your drawings are a wonderful journey showing you embracing what you were born too...i love love love the very last one...i'll remember to refrain from calling you red because she looks like she could be one sharp well and much love light and blessings~

  5. Oh Lis - luv you! - in our home Pippi is a hero as well as Anne of Green Gables - remember how Anne wanted to color her hair and it turned green! :) woo-hoo for power pigtails in all colors! xo

  6. I was such a huge Pippi fan and totally know it informed a lot of how I saw the world as a girl - thank goodness there was a voice for bravery in such a scared household. Anyway, yes! You and Pippi have such the same spirit - I completely see it!

  7. The drawings are awesome!! Love the ponytails- and I LOVE your red hair (and all the wildness and soul power that comes with it)! Most of my life I have envied the powers of my auburn haired friends. They always seemed so much more able to express their passions, and for some reason they all have had connections to the mountains!!! :)

  8. I'm a natural readhead too! :) For much of my childhood I downright resented it which might have something to do with the names I was called because of my haircolour. I still dislike the number of jokes that people think are funny ( if anybody mentions the whole "gingers have no soul" thing to me one more time I am going to punch them on the nose, I swear) but I actually love it by now. The one thing that never insulted me was being called a witch. Witches, after all, are powerful and independent and cool. What more could a girl want?

  9. ha! we always want what we don't have - i would have traded anything for my mousy brown, straight, fine hair which = boring. pippi is the coolest kid ever. :-)

  10. Awwwww, Harriet the Spy and now Pippi!!!!! Two of my absolute favorites :) I once was Pippi for Halloween and won the only costume contest I can ever remember winning! I was 8 years old and wore my dad's shoes and my mom put coat hangers in my braids to make them stick out. So excited you are embracing pigtails and red hair - you and Pippi have a lot in common :)

    And, BTW, I got back from the conference and was thinking, "I have to check out Lis's blog!" and then you commented on mine :) I love it when that synchronicity thing happens!


  11. As soon as I saw that photo of you with the pigtails I thought of Pippi! They look great and I'm glad you are embracing your inner Pippi. I think we all need to even without red hair.

  12. Hey, that girl at the top of your post looks familiar! :-) That's because I just received her in postcard form in the mail. Thank you so much for swapping - I love her! She's so cheery and confident-looking. And personally, I just became a bottled redhead. My last stop before I give up and let it all go as gray as it's been trying to for the last ten years. :-)