When is the “right” time?

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When is the right time to take a leap of faith? When is the right time to make a change? When is the right time to jump into the abyss? The answer is never. There will NEVER be a right time to jump out of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t…

For the longest time, or as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. So straight of high school, I applied to a joint Bachelors Degree and Education Program, 6 years then 2 degrees: BA in English and French and BEd. However, in my last year of university, I decided on a whim to apply to Master’s program. By the grace of God, I actually got into a program very last minute with funding. I abandoned my dreams of teaching in a high school and pursued my new dream of teaching in a college.

The big difference between the two (high school and college) was the amount of freedom I received as a teacher. Becoming a TA and teaching first-year students English Literature was my dream come true. More than that, I was good at it and I loved it. Choosing the material. Making lesson plans. Teaching. Answering Questions. Marking essays and exams. Man, I could mark forever.

The issue is that once my courses finished, my thesis deadline kept getting pushed back. A one year program turned into a year and semester. I am currently still working on it, seems like it’s going to be two years. The further the deadline, the further my motivation went. I felt like I was chasing a pointless dream. I felt like I was chasing the dragon, chasing that first high that would never happen.

Thing is, even if my masters was done to teach at the college level you need minimum three years of experience. How do you get teaching experience if people won’t hire you? Oh, it’s a very simple answer, you don’t. Catch 22, you need experience, they won’t hire you, so you never get the experience. Thus, instead of working in the area that I love, I’m working somewhere that I don’t mind. It’s good enough money, and it’s simple enough, but it’s not what I want to do. I settled. Well, I can’t even say settled, I grew up. Similar to everyone else in this capitalist world, I have bills to pay and I need a job to pay those bills. But I think I’m ready to stop settling, to work in an area that I actually love. Not something I could be good at, or something that I could see myself doing, but something I want to do.

This is me making that change, and stepping out of my confront zone. Choosing to be inspired. Choosing to be excited and energized. I will finish my thesis. I will get my TESOL certificate. I will get teaching experience. I will teach in a college. My goals and dreams will come true, I just have to be patient and diligent.

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Black Hair in the Workforce

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Since I’ve started working at my current job, I’ve been wearing wigs. Honestly, it was easier to wear wigs in the beginning because I was still getting accustomed to the 9-5 adult lifestyle. After I was adjusted it just seemed easier to wear a wig instead of doing my natural hair.

If we haven’t guessed, I am a black female. I have 4C hair, which essentially means I have tightly coiled hair. It’s very hard to see my curl pattern unless I define it in some way, ie. twist, braids, etc. The other thing about my hair is that I shaved it. Well, not ALL of it, but most of it. I shaved off the sides and the back of my hair. However, in May I decided I was going to grow it back. Point is, right now, my hair isn’t that long. Probably 3 or 4 inches around the sides and back. But it is long enough to catch, and do styles.

So recently, I decided to take the plunge and do my natural hair. My coworkers have been asking to see my natural hair for a while, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. Last weekend, I was supposed to go out with my partner (they canceled), and I wanted to do something different, a twist out, which means twist my hair in two strand twist, undo the twist and leave it out – kinda like a curly afro. However, because I was no longer going out and I didn’t want all my time and effort to go to waste. I wore the twist out to work.

I must say, I was extremely nervous. There is such a misconception in the workforce that black natural hair is unkempt or unprofessional. In reality, it takes black females a lot of time to do our hair. Personally, it took about two hours to wash, condition, twist, and un-twist my hair. Even with all that time and effort, and the added bonus that I was looking mighty fine, I was still worried that my boss or coworkers would think that I looked unprofessional. How fucked up is that? Even in 2018, I worry about if wearing my natural hair would affect the way that others see me. Lucky for me, I was welcomed with compliments and commendations. I felt accepted, which means my natural hair will be making more appearances at work.

The reality for a lot of black females is –  natural hair can be a liability to one’s job. Wearing black natural hair in the workforce can be seen as an act of defiance against the white-collar work industry. The hair that literally grows out of my hair is an act of resistance and boldness. In spite of that, this is not why I decided to wear my natural hair. I wore it because I wanted to get over my fear. I wanted to get over the unspoken rule “wigs, weaves and straight hair for the interview, and natural hair once you’re in the door.” I shouldn’t feel obligated to change my hairstyle for the fear that my qualifications will be overlooked by my afro. I am remorseful and ashamed to know that I have done it in the past. Changed the way I looked – not for fun or because I can – but because I really wanted a job.

As the years go by, says the twenty-three-year-old, I want to present my truth. I want to be the truest form of myself. It seems as if accepting my natural hair in all of its glory is the first step of many steps.