Embracing discomfort with long blonde braids
It’s Jo from BVOY & Co.! I hope you enjoyed Jen’s last note about embracing the unknown. This week, I wanted to share something I went through at work.
Before heading off on vacation, I had planned to get long blonde braids - Beyoncé style. I’ve wanted to try this hairstyle for a while now but I’ve been hesitant because I work in a corporate office. The thought made me feel really uncomfortable because I knew it would make me the center of attention.
There aren’t a lot of people who look like me in my office, and so this hairstyle of long blonde braids would be a foreign sight. I could already imagine the stares, questions, and feeling like I didn’t “fit in”.
I really wanted it for vacation and just decided to go through with it! Well let me tell you, the first week at work was the longest week of life! I would literally hide and avoid seeing people as much as possible. Although I mostly received positive responses, I was right - stares, questions, shocked faces, ignorant comments, you name it…I received it. I remember going to a meeting and a coworker walked in shocked and bluntly asked, “What did you do?!” It was moments like those where I wanted to hide.
When I returned home from visiting South Africa last year, I wrote in my travel journal, “By travelling with unique personalities, it opened my eyes to realize that… I really admire personalities that are unapologetically themselves. Just so free and comfortable in their skin.”
There were two ladies I met on that trip who were so expressive and unafraid to be themselves. When I imagine a better version of myself, I consistently write in my journal, “someone who carries herself with confidence and is comfortable in her own skin”.
I came back to the office the next week with my blonde braids and decided, it’s too much work to not be myself. It’s too much work to hide, not be seen, and continuously justify why you did something YOU wanted to do. That week, I got up from my desk with confidence, I attended my meetings with confidence, and I talked to people with confidence. Man, did I feel free!
What is something you’re avoiding to do because of what other people will think? I listened to a podcast this morning and something that stuck with me was “Don’t let people who don’t matter too much, matter too much”. Embrace any discomfort that comes your way, and stay true to who you are.