Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Being Yourself in an Impression-Management World

I always said that I would never let things like work or job interviews influence personal choices such as streaking my hair bright colors, getting a tattoo, or using whatever I want as an email address.  I have done things a little differently than I imagined I would, but that's because of what works better for me.

I used to think that using your real name as your email address was boring, but now I understand why a lot of people do it, and it turned out to be the perfect fit for me.  For my first email address, I used the name fhsdramaqueen199. FHS was my high school and 199 was the chorus room number.  But once I'd been out of chorus for a year, the "199" was no longer significant to me. And I knew once I graduated high school that I wouldn't necessarily want the "fhs" in my name. I realize that any email address I come up with will have the same issues of feeling temporary - anything except for my real name. My real name is the only thing that will always feels right.

Regarding tattoos, I used to think I might like one because my friends all talked about getting them, but the truth is that I can't think of anything that I would still want on my body a year from now, let alone the rest of my life. My style and interests have changed in ways that I could not have predicted.  The tattoos I would have liked in middle school wouldn't have fit me in high school, the things I would have liked in high school wouldn't have fit me in college, and so on. There are things that will always matter to me, but whether or not I want those things on my body has more to do with my style than with their importance. And my style is temperamental. It's based on how I feel. So no matter what tattoo I get, there will be days when I just won't want it on my body.  Not getting a tattoo is really the right choice for me.

And regarding the hair streaking, I got some fake hair pieces that I can put in and take out whenever.  I never liked the idea of having to permanently streak my hair and wait for the color to grow out - I much prefer choosing when I want to wear streaks. Again, this makes it easier to dress the way I feel at a given moment.

The point is that, even though I imagined myself having a tattoo and real hair streaks and an email address like "broadwaydivastar"or "anitcollegeemogirl," I made different choices not because I'm giving into any pressure to act mature or appropriate, but because of what is right for me.

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