Baffling headline, huh? As an insult, it’s even more than baffling—it’s irrelevant. Unless you’ve been experimenting with a truly radical colorist, you know without question that you don’t have plaid hair. So for me to ridicule you over something that you know, bone deep, isn’t true, doesn’t hurt even a little, does it? It might even make you laugh.
But what if I were to be so unkind as to say that you’re fat? Or that you’re not trying hard enough? Or that you’re clumsy, or a procrastinator, or that some of the people you think are your friends don’t actually like you?
Does any of the above make your face flush? Get your adrenaline pumping? Maybe make your stomach give a little flip?
That isn’t because any of those things are true. It’s because you’re afraid they might be true—and because of what you are making any of those things mean. And in that tiny space between “What if she’s right?” and “Oh, God, I’m such a loser!” is a tender, vulnerable sore spot where bullies, frenemies, and even loved ones can poke you.