How Do I Stay True To Myself As A Woman Of Color................. In The Workplace.
I went back and forth about this post for quite some time. I tried to hide who I really am when I started my corporate job. I was mindful of not letting my southern accent be too thick. I had to catch myself to ensure I did not say hey y'all when greeting coworkers. On top of that, because I was an African American woman, I felt as though I had to hide my true personality. I was so worried about how I would be perceived. I never actually conformed to what I thought was "acceptable." I was just very cautious about what I did- which I think is even worse. I did not want to make waves or challenge thinking for fear of being stereotyped as the angry black woman. I played it small in order to make other people feel comfortable with me.
I found myself not really showing up for myself in the beginning. Over time I began to realize I had something to offer if not much more than the very next woman. I had to push past my own disbelief and discomfort to gain a level of confidence that I knew was within me all along. Sometimes we as women of color, count ourselves out before we even begin the race. It is not always easy, no one said it should be, however it should be fair. As a woman of color, I have been in situations where I have been overlooked while someone else was handed that very same thing on a silver platter. That did not sit well with me and so I made some changes. I know my worth and how valuable I am to the company. I made them see it and put some respect on my name.
Unfortunately, the cards are not always dealt the same, but I show up and play my hand to WIN everyday. My sister sent me a list of affirmations that I now recite every morning before starting my day. I will definitely be sharing them with you because they are that good. I know there is office politics and I also understand the name of the game, but at the end of the day, if you show up confident and professionally demanding, there is no way that you can not get what you DESERVE. Let me say this before you think, "girl it is not that easy" In some companies, it may not be, but you have to know when to move onto something better. You are not a tree. You are free to leave any job that does not serve you well.
I made a vow to myself that no matter what I would bring my best self to work and at the end of the day stay true to myself and my values. It’s not easy but it is the one thing that I can control. I have learned this really more and more every day by being around or reading about women who are inspirational, relatable, and resilient. I have a strong circle of women who I interact with or admire from afar. They know their worth, no matter the industry, whether it is male dominated or not. Even when you have to push past certain boundaries to get to the next level, always reassure yourself of who you are. YOU ARE MAGIC! Never isolate yourself or box yourself in. The next person may not see your magic if you don’t show them. You have to get people to see your worth even when they have their blinders on. No matter what I am doing or who I am encountering I make sure that I display a level of confidence that is to be remembered. Prove ‘em wrong sis!