When I'd see kids around me wearing anything outside of the collared shirts and jean skirts everyone in my friend group wore, I just assumed they were bad kids. They were the type of kids I wasn't allowed to hang out with. They were the ones who were either skipping school or, if they were showing up, they were showing up blazed out of their minds from the mass quantities of pot they'd smoke prior to arriving. These were the kids I was taught to stay away from because they were "bad news" and all of that other shit parents tell you to put the fear of god inside of you to keep you on track.
Not to say my parents did a bad job of raising me because that's not the case at all, my parents were great, but I was very much sheltered. I'm not sure if it was strictly the way I was brought up, or perhaps it was a mix of something inside of me I was born with, but I was basically afraid to step outside of the lines in my life for a very long time. Taking chances and being different simply weren't things my life knew anything about. I guess you could say I grew up being extremely closed minded.
I remember on the first day of my sophomore year in high school there was this guy who showed up with blue hair. This was, sort of, the first real instance of someone being blatantly different, and not being afraid to step outside of Abercrombie and Fitch, I had ever noticed before. He seemed nice enough but I knew he wasn't one of the people my parents would ever approve of me hanging out with. "He's bad news", I could just hear my mom saying if I even tried to ask to hang out with this blue haired guy. But he was so, so nice and he always let me borrow a #2 pencil on the days we'd have a test and I only had a mechanical pencil. He was genuine and kind, he never made fun of me or flicked stickers from the back of his planner at me, like the rest of the pubescent deuchebobs did. He was one of the first true guy friends I had ever made in life and I gave zero shits as to what color the hair on his head was.
A few times during that year I tried to hang out with him outside of school, much to my parents disapproval. "Mr. Blue Hair" was up to no good, as far as they were concerned, but I just couldn't help but wonder why they weren't giving him a chance. Why were they so fast to judge, solely based on the color of his hair? I never really got an answer for the questions I continually pondered, but I continued my friendship with him, without the knowledge of my parents, because he never gave me a reason not to. It was, sort of, the first time I had ever stepped out of the box and tried calling my own shots.
It's all kind of ironic to me now, that these were the lessons being instilled into my head growing up, because I think I've, somewhat, become one of those kids my parents never wanted me hanging out with. I love to get a little too drunk with my friends, I have five tattoos and counting, writing on anything and everything with Sharpie puts a huge smile on my face, the word "fuck" is a staple in my vocabulary, just as black nail polish is a staple in my polish collection, a portion of my hair is now bubble gum pink, and I think I would break out in hives if I was forced to wear a collared shirt. I am the kid I was raised to stay away from, but it doesn't mean I'm a bad seed or that I'm going to end up incarcerated, it just means I'm me.
Often I see judgements made towards the way someone dresses, talks, or towards how skinny or fat they are and it doesn't make any sense to me. There are some genuinely shitty people out there on the inside, who do nothing but tear people down and wish the worst for everyone around them, and it doesn't matter what color their hair is, or what style of shirt they're wearing, THEY are the ones I wish I would have been raised to judge and stay away from. They are the true "bad news" of the bunch and it doesn't matter if their hair is purple, blonde, grey, or yellow.
Finding the good in people isn't an exterior thing, not even a little bit. You could be adorned in the most expensive fibers known to man but that does not make you a "good seed", or a good person, it just makes you a person who spent more on your attire than the majority of us can afford. It's about what's on the inside and that stuff you can't pay for. That stuff that drives you to do something nice for a stranger or bring your friend ice cream and their favorite booze when they've had a bad day.
Just because you have everything you need to fit in on the exterior does not make you worthy of any of it if you don't have the credentials on the inside. Just as that blue haired guy turned out to be a great friend, he could have easily been a blue haired guy who was, truly, a bad seed. The color of his hair was never the judge of that and, while I love them and am forever grateful for the lessons my parents did instill inside of me, I'm even more grateful that I managed to learn along the way that a perfect exterior to the eye does not equate to a caring interior, and those who deserve to be judged aren't the ones who choose to express themselves through their wardrobe or their hair color, it's those who lack heart and humanity for those around them.