In the figure of a man

Think of a time and place where you belonged, but didn’t feel welcome. What happened? What did you do? What didn’t you do? What would you do differently today? Write.

I remember being a young receptionist and office assistant in oil and gas.
I’m the type of girl who would rather spend money on Torchy’s than acrylic nails, so even though I was really good at my job, I was always excluded from social activities.
The group of women in my department would purposely wait until I’d come back from lunch so they could go out together without me asking to come with. They would plan things outside of work without telling me and then I’d see pictures on facebook later on.
One girl even talked down to me in public for not finishing a plate of fried chicken when I had just been diagnosed with gallstones.

This was girl on girl bullying. I remember thinking so often that if I were just a man none of it would be happening. I really truly believed it. It actually got to the point where I purposely dressed in a more masculine fashion. I wore my hair in a pixie cut and decided to forget about being prim and proper. I thought to myself, “Men don’t have to worry about doing their makeup every morning, so why should I? Men don’t have to paint their nails, so why should I?”. I decided I would be like a man.

I eventually left that industry for Advertising, which has proved to be much more friendly to women who don’t feel like fulfilling traditional expectations.
If I could go back, I would tell myself that you don’t have to be a man to be free. You don’t have to try to look like a man to be respected. You just have to find a place for yourself where people don’t judge you and belittle you for such superficial reasons.