I wore an orange afro for a few years.
Now all that remains is a skunk streak that’s slightly off center in the front of my head.
I came to orange over a long year in crayon red and a motivation that was not really as contrary to the personality most people know of me as is usually assumed.
When other people are screaming from the rooftops in bright and sundry get-ups, tats, and colorful (if not particularly witty or interesting) language, I’m good with being a grey whisper.
Not that tattoos, nose rings, or bright orange afros always let you do that. But I’m more interested in being good with me than making other people feel good or think I’m good—I’m not much interested in their opinions these days.
But lately I seem to keep running into people who are shouting from the rooftops for attention and worse, validation. So they pepper their language with colorful cusses—nothing particularly witty or intelligent—but colorful nonetheless. Or they wear, umm, colorful clothes—nothing particularly figure flattering or even expensive—but attention grabbing nonetheless.
It’s frustrating to think that low self esteem is so prevalent and so self destructively exercised on top of that. I believe people who think better of themselves don’t need fake, temporary stuff—language, clothes, alcohol, or whatever—to feel better. And I have no research to back up the claim but I think it is people with low self esteem who are most dangerous to us all. If they think that poorly of themselves, you know they don’t care much about helping—nor hurting—anyone else.
So Ms. Lady, a friend I had, used tell my high school students and a couple of middle school ones, how she got drunk. Showing them pictures of her drunken revelry and attempting by nearly any means necessary to whet their hormonal appetites with her womanly wiles. If you know teenaged boys you know the latter is not very difficult.
I’m convinced she is one of the people I worry about. Was she attractive, smart, and worthy of more than sexual attention? Most def. But apparently she doesn’t know it. Ergo the, ummm, colorful behavior.
The danger of it is not just whetting their appetites but the next level which is acting on it. Just like a kiss is a gateway drug to touching and then to sex as marijuana is a gateway to harder stuff, her behavior was a gate that is really easier to open than to keep closed. And it opens onto scandal, psychological damage, and just a lot of unnecessary b.s. for all the associated parties.
My advice to Ms. Lady and whomever is still not sure who they are:
Be you. Be good with you. If somebody else is good with it, that’s cool. If they’re not, that’s cool too. Because their opinion is about them, and is not a reflection of you.
On the other hand, if “You” is colorful as an orange afro or some bright cuss words, then that’s okay, too. As long as it’s all You.