The Boss Babe Blog
Build your career without sacrificing your life.
It's the one aspect of my business that still gives me nightmares: Search Engine Optimization. SEO is just another term meaning "your website's ranking in the search engines" or possibly even "the popularity and relevance of your website". Basically, if you don't have good SEO tactics, you are still hiding in the deep, dark corners of the world wide web. Take a moment to think about the vast majority of individuals, businesses, and organizations that have websites. That's all fine and dandy until you are trying to attract new potential clients to your webpage. How are they going to find you? It's impossible to sift through every website ever created to find exactly what you want, so even if you are the company that they don't even know they need, they aren't going t be able to locate you if your SEO tactics are terrible. I'm going to share some of my SEO tips with you today. Now, I'm no expert, but these are the tactics that allow me to sleep a bit better at night.
1. Do Not Buy Traffic
It's tempting. Honestly, it's like the Devil is dangling a red velvet cupcake in front of your nose. Don't approach SEO in this manner. You must be strong. It is against the Google guidelines and terms of service to buy traffic for your website. It might boost your rankings in the long run, but if you are caught, your reputability is going to plummet. In addition to the prospect of being caught, looks might be deceiving when it comes to these types of services. Even if your analytics show that you are getting thousands to millions of hits a day, you need to take into consideration whether or not those clickers stayed on your website. Is your bounce rate high? You might have bought bots instead of real human traffic. Maybe you bought China traffic. Whatever the case, buying traffic for your website is the most common method of playing with fire in online businesses.
2. Write Professionally, Write Casually.
When SEO first began to become a big industry, some business owners felt like all of their web content needed to be loaded with SEO optimized keywords. Essentially, this worked in the beginning, but the effectiveness of keyword-loading dropped drastically when "everybody started doing it". In the long run, the business owners who had overrun their website with keywords lost readers because the content was too difficult to understand. If you have to choose between including a keyword or ease of reading for your audience, always choose the latter. In the end, SEO comes down to the number of faithful readers you have for your website. If they can't understand your writing, they aren't going to keep reading, and your SEO statistics are going to drop.
3. Write Interesting Content.
I'm just going to start out with an example to explain this tip, because I believe the title should speak for itself. Let's say you are a "Mommy Blogger", and there's nothing wrong with that, it's actually kind of a cool hobby. You have a blog that is being read by women around the country who have children. Your blog is a place for parents to connect, share experiences, etc. Your blog is an escape, a therapy session, and an information portal all wrapped into one. If you run out of writing ideas, and you just start writing about the funny faces and weird noises that your baby has been making at the dinner table, no one is going to want to read your blog except for yourself and possibly your spouse. If your readers wanted that kind of content, they would go fix dinner and feed it to their own children. It's your responsibility as the writer to give them something else to ponder. Now, let's say you saw a news update on your mobile phone that announced a popular brand of baby food has been recalled. This would be something interesting to inform your readers of. Many of the parents reading your blog have probably used that brand of baby food, are currently using it, or know someone who has used it. This is need to know information. Once they realize you are a reliable source of useful information, they will continue to come back to read your blog. You might even start a conversation in the comments regarding other recalls that are currently active. Now you can say you've done your job as a blogger, and you might want to check your rankings again, because you're probably a few steps closer to the top.
4. Work Is Advertisement Too!
If you want people to be able to find your website, you need to advertise it. Obviously, you can buy advertising from popular companies. There are radio advertising offers, television advertisements, flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. You can also buy advertising from popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, or you can use those platforms for free advertisement. One type of advertisement that people often overlook is the work you do. As a blogger, you should be working with other blogs. You should be submitting your work to other platforms. The more places your name appears, the higher your rankings can go. It takes a little bit of extra time and effort, but guest posting on another blog is a great way to shoot to the top!
You already know that I work on www.Fiverr.com as a freelance writer, but freelance writing isn't the only service that you will find on the website. There are SEO experts, web traffic gigs, amazing artists, musically-talented individuals, and design gurus. Anything you are looking for can be found on this wonderful site of freelance workers. Just to get you started, I'm running a promotion that will allow you to order a $5 gig for no cost at all! I know that doesn't sound like much, but every gig on the site starts at just $5, and you will be amazed at how much value you will get for your (or my) dollar! In addition, if you sign up soon, you will be helping my business, as well as gaining the opportunity to start your own! This is a chance that you need to take!
Visit this link for more information: https://www.fiverr.com/s2/d2a715c9f9
Last month, I recommended three pretty incredible books to my readers. To Kill A Mockingbird, Up A Road Slowly, and So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore all made the "must read" list. If you took my suggestions, then you should have had a full month of good reads. This month, I struggled to choose books that could compete with my previous selections. After a lot of thought and more than one trip to my trusty bookshelf, I believe I have managed to create a list that will jump-start your Spring reading. With just a few days until April 1st, it might be a good idea to start reading as soon as you can get your hands on one of these novels.
Who We Are: One Direction, Our Autobiography
If you don't have the heart of a fangirl hiding inside of you, then you might think you're not going to be so hot on this book. As a person who personally enjoys One Direction music, I thought it would be interesting to get some behind-the-scenes insight on the lives of the band members. I found that this book is actually about a lot more than the lives of Harry, Niall, Liam, Louis, and Zayn. This books gives the reader an inside look into the life of a celebrity. From the first page to the last, the boys make it very clear that celebrity lives are quite similar to regular lives, as long as they work to keep it that way. You can read about what it's like to train with a professional sports team, perform live at the World Olympics, and walk the halls behind the stage in Madison Square Garden. Also in every chapter is another point of view of what it's like to visit a poverty-stricken country and talk to struggling families. Taking you from Los Angeles to London, this book will let you experience your wildest dreams through the account of someone else's most incredible memories.
The Hunger Games Trilogy: Mockingjay
Obviously, if you're going to read this book, you need to read the first two books in the trilogy first. However, I wanted to bring special attention to this book for two reasons. First of all, the last movie in the series was recently filmed, and it just became available on DVD. Secondly, this book was my favorite of the three. I believe that it had the most interesting plot, it managed to fill in all of the gaps that the other two books left behind, and it ended the series in a very bittersweet and realistic fashion. From the first chapter, I couldn't put this book down. It was instantly captivating, starting off directly where the second book had finished. If you haven't read this series yet, then you are surely missing out. This is more than a teen fiction dystopian novel. This is a love story, a war story, and a coming of age story all thrown into one. Science fiction, action, and comedy are all elements in the plot. This is one of the few trilogies I know of that actually have good movies to boot. This is a bandwagon that you need to jump on. The sooner you read the books, the sooner you can watch Jennifer Lawrence run for her life from a pack of engineered dogs and forest fires.
Across Five Aprils:
Let me just start by saying I was itching to include this book in the March reading list, though I chose not to because I had already added another novel by the same author. This book is written by Irene Hunt, yes that is the same author as "Up A Road Slowly". This story is equally, if not even more enticing. A story about a boy growing up during the Civil War, it's heartbreaking and relatable. Much like "To Kill A Mockingbird", this novel addresses issues that many people weren't adamant about discussing during those times. What happens to a family when it is spilt down the middle by the divide between the North and the South? It's a simple question to answer, but a difficult reality to face: The family is torn apart. Some brothers try to keep in touch, others have to look each other in the eye and decide whether to follow the orders from their commander or spare their brother's life. This was yet another book that I couldn't put down until the last page had been turned. I highly suggest it to anyone who likes a book that will make you think.
So, what do you think? Are there any books that you would add to this reading list? Drop a title in the comments below!
"Feel the Bern!"
I'll bet big money that you've heard this phrase recently. It's the slogan that has been plastered all over social media, mainly because Sanders is the top-pick for the majority of the Millennial generation. According to a recent survey of 18 to 34 year olds, 46% of the voters would vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. This sparked my interest after reading an article in Website Magazine that pointed out the entrepreneurial nature of Generation Z coming into the work force. The incoming generation is geared more towards getting their work done efficiently with little concern of time or place, than previous generations that were content with a 9-5 office environment. Basically, with social media marketing becoming widespread, and a generation of technology-driven optimists hitting the work force, small businesses are going to be booming. Naturally, with entrepreneurship on their minds, the younger generations are going to search out a candidate that they feel will give their small business a fighting shot in this competitive economy. Since we have already established that the majority of the Millennial generation are casting their votes in Sanders' direction, the question must be posed: Is Bernie Sanders going to be the saving grace for your small business should he get the nomination?
I'm not going to throw a definite "yes" or "no" onto the table, but the odds do appear to be in his favor. According to a website supporting the campaign ( feelthebern.org ), Bernie Sanders does believe in the power and impact of small businesses in America. In fact, the website specifically states: "Bernie Sanders has worked hard to push for policies that help small businesses, encourage entrepreneurship, and foster innovation. Among these, he has supported loans for small businesses, pushed for reforming intellectual property regimes, and advocated for giving the entrepreneurs of tomorrow access to good education."
Regardless of what a biased webpage has to say on the matter, the proof is in the pudding. With just a little bit of research, you can see the influence that Bernie Sanders has had in the world of small businesses. It is well known that Sanders helped to pass the Small Business Jobs Act, an act that was geared towards helping small businesses receive loans to keep their businesses afloat in an economy where banks are reluctant to loan funds. Another appealing aspect of Sanders' policy is his plan to reroute the distribution of money in the United States. He believes in paying workers a living wage, raising the minimum wage to say it simply. Some people believe that this will hurt the small businesses who may not be able to afford to raise their workers salaries, but others disagree with this concept. If everyone is earning a living wage, then more money will be spent at small local businesses. Cash will be flowing back into the communities, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs in the long run. When everyone is handing their paycheck over to large corporations trying to survive, the corporations are just getting larger while the American population continues to get poorer. It's a viscous cycle that needs to be reversed. Whether or not you agree with the way Sanders plans to reverse it is one thing, but you have to agree hat is nice to see a candidate recognize the problem. Most won't even address it.
Back in 2010, Bernie Sanders was quoted as saying: "In the midst of the very difficult recession we're in, helping small businesses receive credit is imperative." Only time will tell whether or not the 2016 presidential candidate will seize his opportunity to do just that. Right now, we just need to keep watching the behavior of each candidate. November is still a long way away, if you think about it. Something could change, someone could slip up, or someone could even drop out. Millennials might decide that they would rather cast their vote to Hillary, or an Independent candidate might arise from the shadows. An election is a fend-for-yourself kind of game, and we are just beginning this round. Regardless of who is voted into office, the incoming generation can only hope that they have some sense of compassion for small businesses, otherwise all of the optimistic, entrepreneur-spirited young people are going to be sorely disappointed.
How do you see it? Will Bernie Sanders uphold his promise to save the small businesses, or are we better off leaving him in the dust?
Scrapbooking is an increasing popular pastime in America, but I've learned that hard way that I just don't have the patience for it. Dragging out all of the supplies and gluing together all of the pieces isn't exactly where the problem lies, because cleaning up my mess is so much worse. I can not stand pinching little scraps of paper off of the floor for days on end, because you no that the vacuum cleaner isn't going to pick all of it up. Then, when your scrapbook is finally completely, it can be hard for anyone else to sift through. It usually turns out more like a collage than a book, and mine always seem to result in one heaping, unorganized disaster. So, if you are looking for a way to save your pictures that would require less time, less effort, and would still look more elegant than a scrapbook or a boring photo album, you might want to consider creating a "photobook".
There are many websites online that allow you to upload your digital photos (you know, the kind straight from your phone?) and arrange them in a beautiful bound book. That way, they can be enjoyed over and over again by anyone who turns the pages! Like I said, there are many places to create a photobook online, but the website that gives you the most freedom to be creative, by far is: PhotobookJoy. This website is currently running some sales, so you might want to look into their services before those special offers go away. With slogans such as: "Keeping Life's Memories Organized" and "Every Photo Has A Story" they show that they understand your reasoning for creating this book, and they intend to offer you the best services possible. I have worked personally with this company, and I can assure you they are very friendly and attentive to each of their customer's needs. If you are looking for a way to preserve precious memories, this should be the first place you go.
If you want to learn more visit: http://www.photobookjoy.com.sg/
"Where does your daughter want to study?"
"Oh, she's looking into universities in Ireland."
"Well... That's a tall order, isn't it?"
I wasn't sure how to react when my mother described this little encounter to me. I was completely taken-aback. Defensive, shocked, apprehensive; every emotion coursed through me in a matter of minutes. My mother took the liberty of reassuring me that my aspirations were not unreasonable, and concluded her story with the fact that she defended my decision and the woman had nothing else to say on the matter. Honestly, I'm not bothered in the least by this woman's opinion in itself, but the underlying circumstances attached to such a statement.
First of all, why is a study abroad program considered to be a "tall order"? There are less scholarship opportunities, I will admit, but there are still options nonetheless. In fact, with the inflation of college tuition prices within the United States, some students might discover it cheaper to study overseas. Travel may be something that is never "simple" per say, but it is certainly not unattainable. Airplanes are the safest method of travel, and they take passengers over the ocean every single day. I could arrive at my destination within hours, not days as if I were sailing on a ship. Plus, there are universities all over the world that consider themselves to be "international" accepting individuals of every race and nationality.
Now, on to my next concern. I hate to sound like a bra-burning feminist when I say this, but was this considered a "tall order" not for money or travel reasons, but because I am female? I mainly mention this because I have just finished writing a speech that will be used to discuss women in politics for Women's History Month, but it is a valid concern regardless. When it has been scientifically proven that females tend to receive higher grades than their male counterparts, and women are working in various industries that used to be reserved solely for men now more than ever, I would like to say that I am severely disappointed in this individual that I don't even know, should this have been her reasoning.
I have written a blog post on it before, and I'm sure you could locate it with ease just by scrolling for a bit or using the "university" tag, but I do want to restate the facts on studying abroad. It is NOT impractical. It is NOT too expensive. It is NOT too difficult to apply for. It is NOT impossible to be accepted into. It is NOT a bad decision for your career. In fact, it DOES show that you have experience with multiple culture; a huge advantage when listed as a skill on your resume. It WILL set you up to have a better understanding of the world. It WILL be more fun and exciting than the community college down the road. It WILL allow you to meet new people and asses your understanding of how to be a responsible adult. It IS a great opportunity for any university-age student.
It is NOT a tall order. It is an aspiration. It is a choice.
Besides, I've heard it said more than once: If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough.
I know that everyone who follows this blog probably has some level of passion for reading. That means, you are going to appreciate the little story I am about to casually drop on this page.
I was standing in the middle of BooksAMillion (a.k.a. another version of Heaven on Earth), deciding whether or not I should buy a bookmark that said "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not had pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.", when I heard a child's laughter behind me. A young boy was running down the main isle of the bookstore, and the only thing that kept me from disapproving of his actions was my fascination with the look of pure joy that was plastered on his face. "Mom, look Mom! We have to buy this one, we just have to! Oh, and this one too!" I had to giggle to myself; I remembered behaving in such a way at that age over something as simple as a bookstore. The boy proceeded to pull a pamphlet out of the pocket of his jeans (mind you, he couldn't have been more than 8 years old...) and he began to squint at the letters on the page. "Okay, so Mom, that one book I was talking about, it's not available until July. Do you think we could pre-order it? Yeah, we definitely need to pre-order it." It was the cutest scene that I had witnessed in quite a while: The mother's arms overflowing with paperbacks, the boy navigating his way around the bookstore like a pro, the level of excitement in his voice, and the obvious hint of pride in her eyes. Most parents wouldn't take the time with their children to search every inch of the store for certain books. Most children would have never shown interest in a book located outside the "gaming" section. I was impressed, I still am impressed for that matter. It's times like these that restore my faith in humanity and the millennial generation in particular just a bit more.
Oh, and I bought the bookmark.
In the wonderful world I like to call the internet... I am Superwoman. Maybe "Wizard of Words" or "Literature Lifesaver" or even "Blogging Beauty" might be closer to correct. However, when I step away from my computer (which does happen on occasion), I want to look presentable. I say presentable because you are reading the words of a woman who has dealt with acne problems her entire life. The dream of "it'll eventually go away" died a couple years back. Anyway, I haven't been able to find a product that truly does the trick for me. Just yesterday, I was referred to a website I had never visited before, and I must say the products look promising. Restoring hope to the hopeless, that is exactly what this lovely company is doing!
Innateskin prides themselves in using all-natural ingredients in their products. They don't implement any harsh chemicals, face washes, etc., just a line of all-natural, completely safe acne treatments for your skin. It's their philosophy that "exceptional skin starts from the inside", and I can't say I disagree with them. I would feel much more comfortable using a vitamin/mineral/herbal based acne treatment than some of the sketchy scrubs that have burned my skin in the past.
Even if you aren't sure whether or not you would like to try out the products, you should still head on over to their website. I thought I should mention that they have a blog (and it's almost as cool as mine). If you want beauty hacks, product information, or testimonials, that is the place to go.
I have written quite a few blog posts about business growth related services today, and this one is just a useful as the others. As you know, I am always looking for new business growth opportunities to improve my own business, and I am almost always nice enough to share my secrets with my readers. The website that I am going to introduce you to now is called HireMCP. HireMCP is a service directed towards small businesses, and based in India, but they can work with businesses from all over the globe. According to their website: hiremcp.com, to impart the in-source capability, HireMCP conjointly offers custom capability development through interventions.
HireMCP connects you to professionals that can solve any core business issue you might have.
In short, they provide Microsoft Certified Professionals to businesses that are looking to reach Microsoft Gold Partner, or Microsoft Silver Partner status. You can hire their Microsoft Certified Professionals and achieve gold or silver partnership through Microsoft faster than you probably think possible.
If you think your business could use the special skills of a certified professional, you need to visit the HireMCP website:
Some people are out there looking for jobs, and they aren't even sure what they are looking for. I can honestly say that I understand their struggle, but even when you know EXACTLY what you are looking for, one question remains: Where do you start your search? There are search engines, but not all of the results can be guaranteed to be legit. There are websites designed especially for job searching, but many of them make their money by making you pay a monthly fee to use their service. There are newspapers, but that won't show you the full picture. There are many other places to find job listings as well, and it can become overwhelming after a while.
If you are a driver of any kind, you can stop browsing through search engines and sifting through newspapers. I recently found out about a website called "DriversPost". DriversPost keeps an up-to-date list of companies that are currently hiring! With categories ranging from bus driver to delivery driver, ambulance to CDL truck driver, and limo driver to personal shopper positions, there should be an opportunity for almost anyone! DriversPost makes the job and applicant search as fast and easy as possible. They are your one-stop-shop for driver recruitment. DriversPost eliminates the need for job board hopping, saving you precious time and energy!
On their easy-to-use format, they connect qualified drivers with excellent companies. If you are a qualified driver that is looking for work, you need to visit their website before you do anything else. Your next job is waiting with just the click of a button.
Consider me your test dummy. For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for new, interesting books. I was that one kid who had read every recommended book before they were 10. My favorite classroom was the library, and I would argue relentlessly that the library WAS actually a classroom in its own right. So, needless to further explain, I have quite a few novels under this belt of mine. If you are anything like me, you don't like wasting your time on books that aren't exhilarating, eye-opening, or intellectually engaging, when you could be spending that precious time reading something worth actually reading. That's why I am going to be writing up a short list for you every month. This list is going to contain books that I recommend. I have three little gems in mind for you today.
1) So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore
2) To Kill A Mockingbird
3) Up A Road Slowly
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What books do you recommend we get our hands on as soon as possible? Let us know in the comments, or on social media!
Lately, you might have noticed a new trend: explainer videos. Explainer videos are those catchy and memorable videos that stick in your head for quite a while after you see them. Usually, they are short, they have some pretty impressive illustrations, and the audio consists of a narrator selling you a product or company pitch. They work well for online stores, blogs, and almost anything else that you can advertise online. In all honesty, I've been looking into having one created for my Fiverr page. Wouldn't it be more appealing to have a fun video as the cover of my gig, instead of the same old picture for months on end? Apparently, it would, because there are many reports that state videos are more memorable and appealing to clients. They could even make you look more professional if they are designed correctly.
Since I've been looking into this service, I thought I would share with you the best explainer video company that I have found so far. Again Studios is an explainer video company that will bring your message to life. Just after watching the little clip on the landing page of their website, I was sold. If their video could do that to me, what would a video that they create be able to do for my clients? Their portfolio is impressive, their reviews are noteworthy, and their blog is interesting. If you feel like you are stuck in an advertising rut, doing the same things over and over but not growing as much as you would like, then I recommend you check out this company. An explainer video might be just what you need to revive your image and step up your game!
A little over a week ago, I took the plunge. A step I have been working towards for about 3 years now, finally completed. I'm not exactly sure when or where my love for red hair began (although I've had family members tell me that red hair is in my genetics on both sides of my family, and it comes naturally to me) but I do know that I have been dying it red for 3 years now, and I've loved it more and more each time. In the beginning I received mixed responses. Some loved the color, others hated it, most people were indifferent. After all, it's MY hair, and I can do as I please with MY hair. I should probably point out that the red hue I started out with is no where near as bold as the red lipstick resembling shade that I am sporting now. Since I've dyed it last, I've noticed quite an intense shift in attitude towards me and my hair color.
The first reaction came from my mother, simply because she was the poor soul who got stuck with the task of dying it. While I was still struggling with initial shock and hysterical outbursts, all she could manage to say is "It looks okay. I promise. It looks okay." That wasn't exactly the comfort I was looking for, but at least she wasn't lying. In her defense, she was probably in shock as well. This was undeniably a huge transition in appearance.
After a couple of days, I got used to the color. No, scratch that, I began to absolutely fall in love with the color. I changed my profile picture to something more recent, simply to give a more accurate representation of my current appearance, and that is when the first blow hit. As I was sifting through and replying to the usual "I love it", "Oh, how beautiful" comments that are so easy to plaster to a Facebook wall, I noticed one comment that disapproved of the new do. "You are beautiful just the way you are" was their stance on the situation, implying that I had only changed the color of my hair do to some kind of self-confidence issues. This is the place where I would like to stop and reassure my readers that this isn't the case. I've struggled with self-confidence issues in the past, but my use of hair dye isn't related to that. I think I look good with my natural dark hair, I liked myself with bleach blonde hair, and I love the way I look with my bright red hair. I would like to think of this transition as more of a form of expression than a cover for some hidden issue.
I was never concerned about stepping out in public, I didn't care about the comments left on my Facebook page, but to be completely honest with you, I was terrified to the point of tears to go to church that following Sunday. I actually had to stop and laugh at the irony of the situation, because I was more worried about being judged by the people who were supposed to be some of the most non-judgmental. When I stepped into the church house, the building was empty. Since I was the first inside, I would get to gauge every person's reaction individually. After saying a silent prayer that the reactions wouldn't be too harsh, people started walking in. I believe I actually said to my Mom at one point: "Oh Lord, they're going to want to baptize me again." The comments were stated as follows:
"Oh Sweetie, what did you do to your hair?" - That one I was completely cool with.
"Um... You look like a clown, no, a Vampire!" - A statement from a child, so it was dismissed, and I also couldn't argue with the observation.
"I need a wig in that color, then no one could tell us apart!" - From the pastor, I think he took it in good stride, honestly.
"I like it, your Mom should dye hers purple." - This is something I have been preaching for months, she doesn't listen.
"I tried to dye mine red once, it came out purple." - Okay, that's terrifying, but thank you for understanding me.
"That's okay, my daughter dyed hers bleach blonde!" - Mine was bleach blonde a few days ago, no thank you.
"Oh, you dyed your hair." - This obviously means your are in shock too, I feel your pain.
*whispers* "Did you see her hair?!" - Come on guys, who didn't? It's pretty hard to miss. Oh, and I can hear you whispering.
"I guess it's okay, kids put all kinds of streaks in nowadays." *rolls eyes* - I obviously expected this.
"When are you going to dye it back?" - Alright, now that one is a bit rude, actually.
"You should have done it blue." - I considered blue, but I think my skin tone is all wrong. Maybe next time.
"I've always wanted mine that color!" - What's stopping you? Go for it, babe!
"That is my favorite shade of red." - Thank you! Mine too.
"Oh God, at least it isn't blue." - I am considering blue. Blue is definitely next now. Thank you.
For the most part, the response wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The older fashioned folks seemed a bit taken aback, and possibly even a bit weary of me now. Two men stopped in their tracks and made a scene of removing and cleaning their glasses, that joke was old before it got started, a complete confidence booster! No one tried to baptize me again, sprinkle me with oil, or pray over me, so I'm going to say that overall they were much more tolerant than I expected. I was left thinking that maybe I should have had a little more faith in the church community, I am a part of them after all.
Going to town the next day was an absolute hoot. That is where the real reactions started flooding in. For good or bad, better or worse, I was turning heads. The only reason we even recognized my cousins at a restaurant was because they were admiring my hair, and I looked up to see who kept sneaking glances. When we went into the grocery store, the guy at the cash register was smiling like an idiot, and I swear he winked at me. I ignored the attention. At the pharmacy, the ladies obviously weren't too keen on the shade. There were a few jokes thrown around that I wasn't too appreciative of, but I know they meant it in good humor. Just walking through the parking lot felt like I was being stalked. With the sun shining and making the red significantly brighter, people couldn't help but stare. It wasn't a bad feeling, but it wasn't a good feeling, and I guess it's something that I will eventually grow accustomed to.
Going in to this, I knew this move was going to attract attention. I understood that some people might initially get a bad misconception based on my appearance. At first glance, if I'm wearing too much black, I look like a punk. If I'm wearing something loose and flowing, I look like a flower child. I definitely don't look like the girl that you would expect to find singing in the church choir or teaching a Sunday school class. My hair color kind of screams "rebellious, dangerous teenager who is up to no good" to anyone that isn't included in the millennial age group. The point I'm trying to make is, that's okay. If you're a Christian, you aren't supposed to be judging people based on their outward appearance. If you aren't a Christian, but you're a decent human being of any other religion, you still aren't supposed to be judging others based on their outward appearance. Unless you have to live with me and look at me every single day, the color of my hair should be of no concern to you. I am still the same person.
My hair might be nearly glow-in-the-dark, but I am still the same girl. I still sing in church. I still do the absolute best I can to teach the children in my Sunday school class all that I know. I still study my Bible every chance I get. I am still maintaining a 4.0 GPA in an accredited online homeschooling program, through which I am set to receive my diploma NEXT YEAR (almost 2 years early). I am still running a nice blog, that I designed myself. I am still paying for my own phone bill, the water bill, and the fees that come along with my website. I am still writing speeches and articles for people in over 25 countries. I still aspire to travel overseas for University, and publish a novel in my name. Dying my hair didn't change anything except for my hair. It's honestly that simple. Through this experience, I believe God has shown me quite a few things:
I can be too vain sometimes. I shouldn't be worried about whether I am looking as good as the person sitting next to me. Of course, I should want to be presentable, but it shouldn't run over into the direction of vanity. This hair color makes me more aware of the people who are looking. Some people love it, some people hate it, just as I've said before. That's the way it is going to be with anything, though. Everyone has their own opinions, and I'm not going to be able to fit everyone's standards. I'm going to have to fall short sometimes, I'm only human.
I know what it feels like to be different. My whole life I have tried desperately to follow the crowd and fit in. That's hard work when you weigh as much as I do (which I am working on for health reasons, by the way) and I've experienced my fair share of exclusion, but never at this level. I can guarantee that I won't be as quick to judge when this is all said and done. This concept applies to the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, and anything else that might make you different: You don't deserved to be shunned for it. You don't deserve to excluded because of it. You don't deserved to be turned away, laughed at, pointed at, made an example of, made a joke of. You don't. While this circumstance is a bit different because it was my choice to make this change, not a condition I was born with, I can still feel the difference. Just because you look different doesn't mean you are bad or of a different species, you are still just you.
The final verdict: Some people might feel like I am over-exaggerating the whole thing. My only answer to that is - go dye your hair this color and look at things from my point of view. There wasn't an over-exaggeration anywhere in this article. It's only been 7 days, and I still have a long red-headed road ahead of me, but I'm kind of excited. This has been eye-opening so far, and I'm sure it will continue to be. All I have to say is: If you see someone, get to know them before you judge them, and if you know someone who makes a change like this, remind yourself that it is still the same person inside. So, I hope each and every one of my readers continues to be beautifully unique, if you have a chance then take it, if you have a vision then make it come true, life is too short to make a habit of ignoring yourself and listening to everyone else. Now that I think about it, I think I'm going to go blue next time.
This morning, I logged into Twitter. I noticed a hashtag trending worldwide that actually seemed worth looking into: #WednesdayWisdom. Now, I don't know about you, but I am always appreciative of a little bit of wisdom, especially on a Wednesday which tends to be one of the slowest paced days of the entire week. Of course, there were quite a few true but overused quotes about kindness, more than enough bad jokes that didn't even make me crack a smile, and a ton of businesses just trying to promote themselves by using the popular hashtag. However, I did take note of certain tweets in particular pertaining to literature and business that I thought would fit perfectly into this blog. So, on this very dreary Wednesday, I shall bestow other individual's wisdom on you. You can thank me later.