above all, follow your own nose

When I was in primary school I decided that I would really really like to have pig tails. My mother refused categorically because she said I would look foolish and people would make fun of me, I insisted and insisted and she gave in, I went to school feeling duly foolish and so people did make fun of me. I came home and said I did not ever want pig tails again, my mother had been right.

I turned forty last year, and I now, with grey hair, often sport pig tails, I perhaps look a little ridiculous, far more than the under-7-me probably did, but no one is announcing my demise as I walk out the door, so I get a lot of amused reactions from the world. I believe that pig tails suit the person that I am, and probably suited me very much then. Out of the car window, on my way home today I spotted one of my contemporaries (who had expressed surprise at my—she thought—childish behaviour a few months ago) with pig tails, quite a compliment.
In her second year of primary school I made this funnny multiple pig tail collection for my daughter, quite a martian hair style, she looked really sweet and really hip, I told her so. In one morning her school-going self turned from a slightly shy girl, the smallest girl in her class, into a confident kooky contender that got included in games. I probably mess up in lots of ways as all parents do but I think I do stand by my children in a way no one ever did for me, so it’s not a curse.

If you are shy or underconfident, I have learned, it is always the safest option to brazen it out.

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