I got a new job!! I'm doing web and design work and a LARGE non-profit. I have been working there for a full week now and I love it :-)
It hassss been an adjustment however. As confident as I like to imagine I am about my outward persona, I know that in meeting the hundreds of people who work here, I'll be making a ton of first impressions in a short amount of time. So what do I do? Wear my hair out and big in all it's pretty glory- and thus risk distracting the unsuspecting new co-workers with a cloud of curls on a new girl named "Niambi"? Or do I pull it back and just be the designer from upstairs?
I opted to pull it back for my first two days (I started on a Wednesday) and wear it out on Friday in a full-blown wash and go. This week I did the same thing- sort of reversing my routine. Usually I wash my hair on the weekends and wear it out on Monday and Tuesday, maybe Wednesday and then slowly put it away. These past two weeks I have washed my hair on Thursday night and wore it out Friday and through the weekend, putting it away on Monday.
I did get validation that I'd made the right decision. When I wore it out last Friday, the first thing that several people said when they saw me was "OMG- Your hair"... They said it while smiling, and I also heard "cute" and "I could never"... So indeed, it was a little distracting at first. Though I have strong beliefs about women accepting and loving what they were blessed with, I am also aware that our hair is "different" and that stereotypes can distract people from who we really are. It's just hair - it's not a helmet of battle, or a crown of queendom, or a kufi of curling smoke, or a hood of rebellion. Those facts will come to light as soon as we become truly acquainted. But sometimes... I just don't feel like pushing through those barriers. No, I will not make my hair like YOURS to alleviate your discomfort or curiosity. But I can make it a little smaller, and a little less "in your face". We can wear jeans here, so it's more a business casual environment and I know I will go back to wearing my hair out once people know WHO I am.
And here is a gratuitious shot of my hair how I like to wear it: