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Artsy Weirdo Vs. Corporate America – #thestruggleisreal

I want to share my woes of being an artsy weirdo trapped in Corporate America – #thestruggleisreal. You see, my undergraduate and graduate degrees were in Film and Media Arts, so I come from a world where honing in on your unique self-expression is celebrated. My former jobs at TV post-production companies and advertising firms in New York City had me a bit superficially spoiled because these work environments were unique in not enforcing strict office dress codes. I loved how my coworkers and I could openly show off our tattoos, eclectic hair colors and styles, and dress as off-key as we wanted (sigh). Oh, how I took those days for granted.

Now that I work in project management for a fortune 500 company, I’ve transitioned into a work space that takes office etiquette and attire very seriously. I mean, we do have dress down Fridays, but that’s still business casual clothes such as button down shirts, preppy sweaters or blazers with jeans, ugh. An artsy chick like me lives for bright colors, playful patterns and vintage pieces; so corporate, preppy clothes exist as very limited staples in my funky wardrobe. I always thought as I got older, I would want to be more conservative, but it’s only been the opposite. My favorite color is purple and I’ve been itching to dye my hair this color, but I can’t because it’s not “appropriate for my corporate job” (wah * Snookie voice). I also want a sexy faux mole face piercing (a la Amy Winehouse), and a ton more tattoos all over my body, but all my impulsions won’t fit in this corporate glass dome.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for my job. As a single woman, it affords me to live quite comfortably in my quaint, small town in New Jersey. But I can’t help to feel stifled sometimes because I always tend to feel as if I’m wearing a uniform and my reflection doesn’t show this old-soul weirdo living inside of me. For the time being, I have found alternate solutions to subtlety unveil my weird artsy tendencies. Now, my hair is dyed, a healthy, burgundy color which is a cool alternative to purple, and works for my job setting. My hair is also natural, so my styling is very flexible. I can go to the Dominican shop and have them blow dry my hair bone straight, I can rock my normal curly Afro, or even sport different braid hairstyles—that keeps me sufficiently satisfied, for the moment anyway. I still want to get the face piercing, but I may just find the tiniest earring possible so it’s not easily noticeable. It should work because I’ve had a studded nose ring for the past seven years, and it’s never gotten in the way of finding corporate employment. As for the new tattoos, I can find discrete, sexy areas on my body to use as a canvas (wink, wink).

I’m appreciative that I’m mature enough to reflect on alternate solutions and not get stuck in this self-expressive funk. However, as our Detox family grows and encountering all these eccentric, creative souls, it’s hard not to envy their fashion freedom. And it makes me hustle even harder for Detoxaholic and all my creative ventures in film, TV, and music. I know if I remain strong on my grind as a creative hustler, it won’t be long before you may see some weird, purple-hair brown girl bouncing around a city near you!

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Detoxaholics, share your alternatives on how you express your individuality in Corporate America; inquiring fellow weirdoes want to know 😉