I feel that when I get old and gray, memories will be the only thing I have to bring a smile each day. Unlike most, I won’t be thinking of the usual things that people dwell on, like the appearance that comes with old age, or even dying. As I look at how times will be changing in front of me, I will only be thinking of the moments that I stepped out of the norm, the times that I chose to be different not to draw attention to myself but as a statement to my peers and ultimately the world, that I am an individual.
By choosing to get a Mohawk I was taking a chance, not only with my hair, but with my pride as well. I have never been a guy that completely blended in with the crowd but I had never done anything this dangerous either, I am only a teenager. (I’m not saying that to see I have it easy, I’m saying that to say you should feel bad for me.) The slightest blunder could leave me being the butt of many jokes. I nearly talked myself out of it. “I can’t go to school looking like Mr. T,” I said. With a deep breath I looked myself in the eyes (in the mirror of course) and said, “Corwin, don’t you think it’s boring to be like everyone else?” I stormed out the door on my way to the jungle. High School is just that, a jungle, and it is full of different species and interesting sights.
As I stepped in the door I was assured that I did the right thing when a girl said “Hey, that’s cute,” or so I thought I was assured, but I turned out to be wrong. Throughout the day I certainly turned heads, and sure enough, I heard a, “Hey, Mr. T.”. All and all, it was a great experience. I heard some great compliments and a couple bad jokes, but I saw I affected people. Whether they liked, hated, or just heard about it, I got a reaction out of them. Regardless of what people said they could see I was committed to my Mohawk, because I wore it with confidence.
I made people think about their lives and why they do or do not take chances. I learned about myself and how we as people react to what’s different. I will continue to be different, I will continue to turn heads and shock people; I will continue to get Mohawks. This time I refer to the Mohawk as a metaphor; a metaphor for change. I will continue to be an individual, not just through clothing and appearance but through deeper situations. I will prove that black men can be educated; I will prove that the institution of family has not died, and I will prove that men can be faithful to their wives. Whether it turns heads or not, I will do these things with pride. These will be my Mohawks.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.