So, I recently had a conversation with a colleague. We work closely together on a few things including an engagement committee where we plan and execute activities for the associates. I was telling her how grateful I am for her because I don’t like to plan events. I told her, “I’m not fun.” Honestly, y’all, I don’t even like planning birthday parties for my kids. Surprised, she said, “You are fun. You have blonde hair.” Hmmm. This was actually my blonde wig debut at work. Until now, I’ve only worn my black “work wigs” and saved my blonde ones for the weekends. My husband thinks blonde is “too sexy” for work, so I initially obliged his request not to wear them. But just last week I realized I wear my blonde wigs because I feel good wearing them and hell, I look good wearing them. Those young boys at work are not checking for me, and I most definitely am not checking for them.
Any who, in that moment, I realized people often associate my hair with my personality. People who don’t know me personally assume that because I change my hair (sometimes from one extreme to the other) that I am outgoing and the life of the party. I mean, I get it. I could wear a pixie cut, then a long a weave, to an afro, to braids, then a bald fade all in the same week. So I can understand how one might be confused. Really, I just love the freedom, impulsiveness, and versatility in wearing different hairstyles. My personality, however, is the complete opposite of this. I don’t like to be the center of attention, I’m very practical and cautious, and I’m usually the quietest one in the room. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to laugh and have a good time, but I can admit that I can be a little uptight at times.
Besides my hair, I’m a plain jane and I typically don’t stray from that. I recall shopping for a new pair of eyeglasses a couple of years ago. All my glasses typically look the same, a simple, neutral colored frame. The sales associate was trying so hard to get me to buy some “fun” frames. She referenced my hair, a fade at the time, and said, “I know you’re fun. Look at your hair.” (Sounds familiar?) Y’all, she pressed me so hard to pick a pair of frames that were just not my style. I would say she was pushy even. There was a time that I might have just bought the damn frames that she was pushing on me because I felt like maybe I should be this person she believed me to be. I would think maybe it’s time I step “out of my comfort zone,” but I always regretted those decisions. This time though, I didn’t allow her to tell me who I was nor did I allow her to push her style on me. Instead, I politely but firmly shut her down and happily purchased the simple, neutral colored frame that looked just like the pair I was wearing.
So, let’s talk.
Does your hair match your personality? Do people accept you for you? Or do they try to change you to meet their perceptions of you?
Listen. This conversation is deeper than hair. It’s about accepting who you are in spite of it. It’s about not letting someone else’s perception of you to waver how you see yourself. Stand firm in who you are even if and especially when others try to force their opinions of you onto you. Surround yourself with people who love you exactly as you are. They bring out the best in you and will only challenge you to be the best version of you. So, whether you are miss personality or miss wall flower, don’t ever stop being you just to appease someone else. And no matter what, keep going. You got this!