Authenticity vs Conformity

As far back as I can recall I have always considered myself different, an outsider, a rebel, unique. Moreover I have always stayed true to myself. I wore whatever I wanted. I styled my hair differently and dyed it different colors. I didn't match and I didn't care. I didn't look like "normal" kids. I didn't worry about fitting in. All that mattered was that I stayed true to my core and visually expressed who I was on the inside.

For some that goes away once you've entered adulthood. That didn't happen to me. I never conformed to a societal norm of how to look or how to act. Who I am on the inside has grown and maybe I am not as spunky on the outside anymore but there are still certain ways in which I externally express myself, mainly tattoos and piercings.

I haven't ever cared what anyone thought of my tattoos or piercings. They are a part of who I am. Honestly I forget they are there until someone stares or asks me about them. Every bit of ink in my skin has meaning to me. And well, the piercings are something I enjoy. I do not look 'freakish' nor do I adorn my body with anything offensive.

I have always and will always have the attitude that this is me, take it or leave it.

Usually this isn't a problem. I seldom feel judged or like an outcast for the way that I look. My tattoos and piercings haven't ever been an issue when it came to dating, making friends or my job. Body modifications have become extremely mainstream. However there are still people and places who find them to be unacceptable for a professional appearance.

My brand new place of employment, a large retail chain, states in their handbook that tattoos must be covered and piercings are not allowed except in the ears. Had I known this I would not have applied for the job. This kept me from applying for another large company but I respect them for being upfront about it. I was asked on my date of hire to cover the tattoos and I agreed. Did I like it? Absolutely not but I would manage. Then today, my first day of training, it was brought to my attention that after further discussion I would need to wear a clear retainer in place of my Monroe. This comes after I had already been told that since I was hired with it in I would be able to wear it. And quite frankly I feel this is extremely unfair.

During my job search these last few months I was adamant about finding a job that would except me as I am. If a company was going to discriminate based upon body modifications then it wouldn't be the place for me. I still believe that.

I feel stifled. At this age this is not the way I want to feel. Especially for a part time job. Yet I feel like in this moment I have no choice. I have bills to pay and I need flexibility in order to complete my internship. And so again I feel stuck. A feeling I worked so hard to escape has now come back around and smacked me in the face.

I don't see this lasting very long as I cannot be in a place that does not foster individuality.

No comments: