On my way back from Europe, I landed at the San Franciso airport. The flight from London was not full and luckily it seemed we were the only flight that landed at that time in spite of the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest to travel. This time around, it took me almost two years and an Obama victory to come back, so I took the peaceful reception as a great sign.
A very nice youngish Latina (or should I say Hispanic) woman stamped my passport and welcomed me back to the US. As I was turning to leave, she smiled at me and said: “I love your hair; I love the color, this bright burgundy.They’d never let me do that here. We are supposed to look professional,” she said looking sweetly disappointed with her own thought of impossibility.
I smiled, waved a cutsy bye and rushed to get my luggage. Is America becoming more conservative? Is the Federal government imposing hairstyles and hair color mandates on its employees? Or is it simply that the perception of seriousness, the stereotypes and the “packaging” still carry weight and form opinions? But, this is not my point – I feel too fatigued for yet another political discussion.
My issue is the young woman’s fear, unwillingness, resistance to her own self. It’s not that SHE doesn’t want to do something. It’s what THEY (the others) will think, say, believe about her. It’s not the hair, the color, the clothes, the make up or whatever. It’s the uncertainty of her opinions, her tastes, her stance.
I never let that “perception” come between me, my hair and my professionalism. The occasional pink has been a spark of eccentricity for over ten years now and none of my more conservative corporate clients ever said a word.
My best friend, equally impervious (check photo) is one of the better known attorneys in Greece, specializing in zoning regulations and urban planning law. You have to be tough in this cut-throat world surrounded with builders, engineers, and state officials. The off the wall green and blue colors in her hair have not stopped anyone from retaining her as a lawyer. No judge has thrown out her case due to stylistic prejudice.
If you are good and strong and fully aware of your power, why let others write the rules for your own game? Even if you don’t feel that strong or good or aware – why deny yourself being you?
It’s your life and nobody else’s and only you are the master of your game.
Since it is the greatest holiday today -Thanksgiving – regardless of countries, colors (skin and eyes and hair), religions or cultural norms, I think a reflective moment is in order.
Are you thankful to yourself because of who and what you are? It’s so easy to forget the little kid that lives somewhere in our heart. But, it’s her spunk that makes you laugh and joke and skip a step or sing in the shower.
So, think again – say thank you to this little kid inside and then go call your best friend who helps you remember.
Happy Thanksgiving, world!