Friday, November 21, 2008

I have to be Me

I chopped off all my hair. Short. Like Mia Farrow in the 60s. My female friends say it makes me look younger. My male friends say I look butch. Work folks didn’t say anything at all.

One day, I looked around a meeting and saw almost every woman had the same chin-length bob. My department has over 50 folks - that’s a lot of bobs. At the time, I had one too.

We try hard in professional environments to be politically correct and to make other folks ‘comfortable’ with us. As women, we struggle with what that means - power suits? colours? all black? firm handshake? soft voice? Many folks have written articles around the question of: are women trying to look and act like men in the workplace to be accepted?

What about the things we sometimes do to be acceptable to other women? Not being confrontational. No arguments. Being agreeable. (which, in my mind is worse that trying to be liked - see an earlier posting).

I didn’t chop off my hair to look different. I cut my hair to remind myself of my uniqueness. (I am unique only in the way that billions of other folks are unique. I have my own style and my own views.)

I chopped my locks to remind myself to state my point of view honestly (albeit respectfully). To remember that it’s ok to walk against traffic if you know where you are going. That I bring definition to the job/project/adventure and not the other way around.

My community has been cheering my re-found sense of self. I’m ashamed I ever allowed myself to lose it.

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