This is an unusual post for this blog. It is personal. My husband and I had dinner last night and I felt out of place with my blue hair down and tattoos exposed. He asked was I not comfortable with what I had made myself? Yes, but hyperaware of how others perceive me, especially in my role and having to frequently go into an office space. My thoughts…
It is that tough time of life when you cannot completely identify yourself with the business man or the kid just experimenting and having fun, seeing what life brings his/her way. It is time to suit up into the high collared shirt. Tattoos play peek-a-boo at the collar. Suck up that gut and button up well-tailored pants. Layer on top a crisp black, tan, or navy suit jacket and heels costing half your monthly salary. Despite the formal wear, blue hair is brushed back into a tight bun on the top of my head.
I am in-between.
Here I am the chameleon. The suit is a way to conform to the space that gives me the security and title I need to ensure my family lives an easy life. We can travel and see the world and expose our children to new cultures. We can buy our teenager a new dress for her first middle school dance. I hear my footsteps in the office hallways – clack, clack, clack. I did not think this would be me.
The suit begins to act as a piece of armor hardening for protection and serving as a way to keep the creative, the different, from seeping out too much. Tell me what start-up companies or other freeform culture companies will accept a woman into the their top management ranks. My husband left his job as a VP because he wanted to work for a place that had the same spirit as he and he found it. Few women are within those ranks. Where could I do what I do now and wear Havaianas, my crazy spectacles, and the occasional blazer?
The suit contains me. I won’t rid myself of my personality so quickly, but I won’t fight. I learned my lesson in my 20s that fighting was not the spirit that made ideas accepted and moved the rock up the hill. Instead, I will wear an under armor of patience and grace to prevent the suit of conformity from becoming a straight jacket squeezing every last drop of individualism from me. I have so much to give. Let me be me. Let me learn to contain myself and what part of myself when appropriate. I long for the day when we can drop the suits and facades and see people for who they really are.
Know I wear the suit to conform and protect you. Look beyond these trappings and see the free spirit trapped in the frame seeking an opportunity to break out, blue hair and all.