It all began back in first grade when my mom decided to cut my golden locks in the name of the school’s strict dress code. But it wasn’t just that! She was a working mom with a hectic morning routine. Adding “hair braiding” to her list of early a.m. chores wasn’t something she wanted to do.
As luck would have it, my unruly curls had a mind of their own. Not even the mandatory white headband on top of my head could tame my rebellious hair to the satisfaction of my teacher. By the time I hit fifth grade, my mom had had enough of dealing with my school drama and teacher’s constant complains.
Short hair? Nope, still not short enough. Braided, in a ponytail – you name it – nothing seemed to please my teacher. Meanwhile, I was also known as the ultimate tomboy. I had no fear fighting the boys when they dared messing with my skirt. No surprise, I never earned a perfect (ten) score for (my) “behavior.”
Thankfully, both my mom and I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally entered the university – I was now an adult and could wear my hair any way I pleased. Or so I thought…
Until I landed in Vancouver, Canada. I was pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in theatre when one of my professors actually suggested that I chop off my hair. A small price to pay if I wanted to be taken seriously as a theatre designer in the “real world.” But I had another plan brewing. I got accepted into a Master of Arts in scenography (not stenography!) with centers in London and Utrecht, and moved back to Europe, where my hair entered its wildest phase of creativity.
The story doesn’t end there. Fast forward to Buffalo, after losing my first job, a recruiter recommended that I put my hair up for an interview if I wanted to secure the position. You can probably guess that I didn’t go to that interview.
So, why am I sharing the journey of my hair with you? Well, it’s because of a comment on one of my previous posts that brought up the topic of DEI. You know this acronym, right? Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion. Not to “teach” us how to think, but to shake up our belief system that influences our behavior.
To remind us that we’re all wonderfully unique, whether it’s our gender, the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, the sound of our voice and accent, or our personal preferences. Sky’s the limit, and we’re limitless too.