Going Red

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you probably know that I can go red in the face at a moment’s notice.

For most of my life I have heard comments such as:

“You look like you’ve got some sun”

“You’re blushing”

“You’re like a ripe tomato”

Usually these comments make me go even redder than before. It takes me a few minutes, but eventually I return to my usual shade of reddish pink.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had the ability to go red in the face for the smallest reasons.

I go red when I am hot.
I go red when it is cold.
I go red when I exercise.
I go red when I speak on stage.
I go red when I am angry, excited or embarrassed.

In fact, the only time I am not red is when I am in a black and white photo.

Psychologists believe that blushing or going red in the face acts as a sort of unconscious public apology for when we feel we have done something wrong. The redness shows that we are upset with ourselves and makes people more likely to forgive us.

What I’ve realized over the years is that being red faced is itself a trigger for going red. The embarrassment about the redness causes even more redness. It’s a vicious cycle of redness.

Now, if you never ‘go red’ you may think this isn’t a big deal. Yet, if you tend to go red yourself, you know what I’m talking about.

For years, I tried to find ways to stop going red. But alas, no change. Believe me when I say it’s the first thing I would change about myself if I had the chance.

Which brings me to my point.

All of us have something about ourselves that we wish was different. Sometimes this is something that can be fixed with work. Other times, it is just something we have to learn to live with.

I am not one to shy away from hard work to improve myself, and yet there are things about myself that I have to learn to accept. Going red seems to be one of them.

My ability to go red is not something that is going away, whether I want it to or not. It is a part of my biology, and thanks to years of living with it, my psychology as well.

Interestingly, what I have found does help reduce my red face is talking about it openly. Admitting to people that I go red easily seems to shorten the cycle. They can see it, and I am being open about it. It seems to reduce the need to unconsciously apologize for it by going red.

There is an old adage that says ‘If you can’t fix it, feature it’.

Sharing this publicly, in a sense, is exactly my attempt to do that.

So the next time you see me, and you notice my red face, you should know that it’s one of my special features. It’s something that makes me uniquely who I am.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some blushing to do.


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