Friday, May 17, 2013

The Big Girl's Guide to Rejection

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Rejection

I have become best friends with poverty.  Honestly, this change in lifestyle has been incredibly enlightening because I am now in the position to learn firsthand what some of the people I once served have to endure on a daily basis.  And although I don’t want to be shallow, one of the first “Big Girl” changes that I’ve had to make involves my appearance.  Not having the means to continue to practice the same personal care regimens that I was fortunate enough to afford when gainfully employed, such as routinely scheduled trips to the salon, has forced me go “au natural.” Unlike some of the other women that I’ve read about, who were able to manage the two textures, the mess my head was in made it utterly necessary to just do “the big chop.”  Honestly, it’s incredible how hair can change a person’s appearance.  And what I found is that I’m not nearly as cute as I thought I was. (Laugh) I applaud all you brave sisters out there who have boldly traded in your processed mane for natural texture. No matter the reason why, it takes a tremendous amount of confidence to make this change unless you’re Barbie doll cute.

Having made mention of that, I am surprised to learn that there remains a noticeable divide in what’s considered attractive, what’s not, and how the two are treated in society.  I don’t say this because of my experience alone.  I’ve also talked with another young lady that has shared in this experience.  Reading material about women who have opted to do natural rather than continue with processed hair suggests this change is trendy and seemingly well-received among women and men in the black community.  However, that hasn’t been my experience thus far.  The two of us shared stories of rejection from guys who made comments like “that just doesn’t look good on you” or just flat out expressed their dislike accompanied by some unflattering glances.  Equally as jarring were the nonverbal cues that come from potential employers.  The lack of eye to eye contact and flat tone communicating disinterest in you as a potential hire resound in the silence.  Your experience with rejection doesn’t necessarily have to be because of a change in appearance.  Perhaps there’s some other issue of comparable significance.  These are a few things that have helped me manage my feelings.

Dig a little deeper.

Making a change of this magnitude forces you to find something more than how you look to “sell yourself.”  It’s true that we are greatly influenced by what we can see.  What I’ve found to be equally as true is that what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s on the inside.  Take time to think about those qualities you possess that are of far more value than outward appearance.  Now find ways to communicate those qualities in such a way that the other person is forced to see more than just what you look like.  This could include things like humor or charm.  Accentuate those things that allow your inner beauty to show.

Really, it isn’t that bad.

The truth of the matter is very simply that those guys could be right.  Just because a style is trendy or popular among most people doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for everyone.  Some people look better with short hair, some not so much.  What I’m trying to express here is that I could feel offended, rejected or embarrassed by the truth, when it really isn’t that bad.  In your experience, take a moment to assess if the offense, rejection or embarrassment you feel is unwarranted or if you’re reading too much into it.  If you’ve found that you’re taking it too seriously, continue digging until you find out why that is.  Then lighten up!  A simple solution for some would be to invest in a weave, braids or wigs.  (I don’t have money for that either, though!)  By all means, make reasonable changes that will make you more comfortable with yourself and get you more desirable responses, but realize that someone isn’t going to like that either.  You have to feel comfortable with you.  (I wish I could afford to hide behind a weave!)


I’m sure that you can remember a time or two when you behaved in the same way of which you’re the victim now.  How does it feel?  Now that you realize how thoughtless your comments or glares were, consider the entire ordeal a learning experience and begin to make changes in how you respond to others.  There is always a tactful approach that can be taken to communicate preferences and feelings.

Unfortunately, rejection is one of those things that we must face at some point or another in our lives.  However, each experience that we have builds character and resiliency to overcome the next.  Instead of nursing your hurt feelings, find some way to make the experience more of a positive one.  


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