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According to English folklore, a woman with a widow’s peak will outlive her husband. Well tell that to a self-conscious fifth-grader and tell me how she responds.
In 5th grade, a girl in my class sidled up to me, grinning, and informed me, “You have a widow’s peak, you know.” No doubt there had been a couple times when I had lamented over the heart-shaped appearance of my head, but never had I explicitly said the word “widow’s peak” out loud or mentioned this to anyone. I was mortified.
I went home that evening, eager to confess my embarrassment to my mom.
“Mom, I have a widow’s peak,” I said, then proceeded in explaining by rubbing the offending hair protruding below the rest of my hairline.
“What?” she asked.
“I have a widow’s peak”
“Oh, that is called a widow’s peak? If you had that a long time ago in Korea, it meant you were beautiful,” she said.
I was unconvinced. In fact, I became so self-conscious that every time I went out, the first thing I noticed when I saw people was whether or not they had a widow’s peak. Not content with imagining myself with a smooth hairline, I grabbed my mom’s razor, crept into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. Holding the razor in one hand and a fistful of hair with the other, I felt each strand of hair give way, feeling a sense of relief as with the snapping of each strand.
Freshman year, I went through another “self-conscious phase” during which I felt uneasy walking down the hallways. I felt out of place and afraid to participate. I couldn’t even concentrate. By the end of the first semester of my freshmen year, I felt as if I were trapped in a cage, confined by all the worries and fears circulating in my mind. In order to free myself, I decided to sacrifice my vanity. So I swept my hair off my face with a headband in order to emphasize my widow’s peak. As I peered at myself in the mirror, I was struck with a pang of fear, imagining what others would think of my “new” appearance.Yet I didn’t let myself back down. Instead of constantly worrying about my appearance or my reputation, I began to force myself to concentrate in class and to share my ideas with more confidence.
I have become accustomed to wearing my widow’s peak and have succeeded in being less and less self-conscious throughout high school. In fact, by the end of junior year, I had forgotten about my widow’s peak, completely. I only remembered when I was trying to order a Jamba Juice.
“I like your hair,” said the cashier, before I could open my mouth.
I paused, puzzled. “What?” I asked.
“I like the way you’ve done your hair,” she repeated. “You know, like over here,” she said, tracing her hairline with her finger.
All of a sudden, it came to me that she was talking about my widow’s peak. I nodded and laughed. As I politely said, “Thank you,” I felt a little offended. Many of my memories flooded back of my self-consciousness. But as I began to reflect on my widow’s peak, I remembered the purpose of emphasizing it was to help me sacrifice my self-consciousness and my vanity. If I had not accepted and proudly exposed my widow’s peak, I would now have nowhere near the freedom I feel to participate and learn using my full potential.
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