I'm sure that many of us had things we struggled to accept about ourselves growing up and inevitably these were always the things that the kids at school would notice and laugh about.
Growing up ginger is not fun, with only 2% of the world's population having red hair, you are the prime target for bullies. Kids love picking on people who are different.
As a child my ginger hair frustrated me. Mostly because being shy it made it harder to blend into the background and I felt I wasn't able to wear red or pink because it "clashed" with my hair (very annoying in the 90s when I wanted to support Man Utd and couldn't wear the home shirt).
Anyone else thinking I'm pretty brave for including such a horrendous 90s school photo? It's good to have a smile at dodgy old photos.
As a kid with red hair getting insulted is pretty much a daily occurrence, not only at school but also by complete strangers in the street. I remember someone I'd never met before once just shouting "GING-A" at me from across the road. As a shy and awkward teenager that was pretty mortifying.
One of my favourite insults was whilst at Sixth Form when, complaining to a "friend" about my ginger hair, she reassured me by telling me "your hair is beautiful, but I wouldn't want it". Erm ... thanks?!
Looking back now a lot of this bullying was harmless, kids messing about and not realising how horrible they were being. What I find harder to understand is adults doing it, especially in the media. Laughing at someone else's expense over something that they can't control just seems very mean to me. I wish people would stop and maybe think about the hurt they could be causing.
When Girls Aloud first appeared on the scene Nicola Roberts, only 16 at the time, was bullied for being a "moody ginger bitch". This poor girl who was still a kid was made to hate herself and spent the next few years desperately dying her hair and covering herself in fake tan to hide herself and fit in. I love that she has now accepted herself the way that she is and has spoken out so strongly to young girls who suffer with their self image. She has grown into a beautiful and confident young woman.
Like Nicola, the cruel words from others made me hate my red hair, and as soon as I got into my 20s I started colouring it. Firstly I went really dark just so I could wear lots of pink and red and then a few years later decided to try out blonde.
I'm very happy to say that now I've hit my 30s I've finally accepted my hair and have grown to love it. For the first time in years I'm not colouring it and am living my life ginger and proud. It's fantastic to have hair that's different to everyone else, it's the kind of colour that so many ladies desperately try to recreate but unfortunately for them it doesn't come in a bottle.
I can now appreciate how beautiful red hair is, it changes colour depending on the time of year and when it catches the sun it truly becomes something very special.
The biggest fan of my hair will always be my wonderful Grandma who stroked my hair at Christmas and told me how happy she was that it's back ... and I think we all know that Grandmas are very wise and always right!