My eyes swelled with tears behind my sunglasses. I'm not sure I was ready to hear it. “It’s hard enough to be taken seriously as a young woman. Much less if you are well-dressed. The last thing you need is a tattoo.” What began as an innocent, well-intentioned thought of getting some ink to mark the place of peace I was in, quickly turned into harsh reality with an extra slap of “don’t be crazy” just for good measure. It saddened me beyond belief to realize the truth in those words. Yes, it is hard to be a young woman and be taken seriously. The idea that a single tattoo would be like a nail in my coffin was too much for me. I wasn’t looking to get prison tats or my name in Roman numerals across my neck for crying out loud. I wanted to embrace a new, colorful generation and do it with thought and grace.
The previous year had been one of messy, awful, but glorious growth for me. Being incredibly sheltered in my upbringing, I was coming into my own in a very legally brunette fashion. The relentless dreamer, I began my journey in the real world with no idea what it really took to make dreams come true or how being a woman fit into achieving my goals. As a young female in the professional realm, it was suggested that I dress less feminine. â��Iâ��m not saying chop your hair off and wear baggy clothes, but you may want to seriously consider toning it down if you want people to listen to what you have to say. â�� I cried. Apparently this is also on the â��What Not To Doâ�� list if you are a woman. I went home and looked in the mirror, carefully examining my petite figure. How much trouble could a pair of B cups and nonexistent curves get a person in? If anything, I had always struggled with my boyish figure. Now suddenly Iâ��m too much? The eternal optimist, I thought certainly there was something to take from this feedback. These comments were not made out of ill intention as hurtful as they were. Perhaps it was true that I could make some changes to my wardrobe to be more appropriate. But where do you draw the line? I started to get upset with the weight of this criticism. Part of me wanted to do something drastic to destroy my femininity in a â��happy now?â�� display of dramatics. I wouldnâ��t be the woman I strived to be with behavior like that, though.
So, I looked to the women that have broken the rules for the sake of progress. Inspired, I decided I wanted to be able to look like a woman, move like a woman, be confident, smart, and damn good at my job all without compromise. That does not mean fitting a hyper-stereotype of what a woman â��shouldâ�� look like, but what I felt was genuine to me. I wanted to show pride in my womanhood, not disguise it. In my mind, I had nothing to be ashamed of and struggled to find a reason as to why I needed to hide myself.Â I began working harder than I ever have in my life to refocus my efforts from daydreaming to being the accomplished woman I imagined in the flesh. My journey is a continuing one complete with imperfections, epic celebrations and falls, but I feel at peace with my efforts to be myself.
Oh, and I did get that tattoo.
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