Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Concealer to Camoflauge

Being in the military. Hard. Being a FEMALE in the military?! Harder. Being a WOMAN OF COLOR in the military?! Sometimes impossible. As I approach my 6th year in the greatest military force in the world I've dealt with numerous different types of personalities. Some are sympathetic to the struggles of a woman of color. Some cant see past the ways of yesterday, but as we evolve you have no choice. Issues ranging from curves/weight to hair and nails are almost a daily struggle for me! If you werent familiar, there are published regulations on what is allowed in uniform in terms of hair, makeup and nails. As the years go by, I've come to terms with what is expected of me as a member of this Armed Force and I've come up with these guidelines:

  • Read the rules. Dont allow anyone to interpret them for you. Look it up, understand it and then stick to it. Nothing like having someone try to correct you when you in fact have done nothing wrong.

  • Stick to your guns. If you know you've done nothing wrong, stand up for what you know is right. You may be the one to bring awareness to something that noone ever bothered to verify. Print out the regulation and carry it in your pocket if you have too.

  • Be respectful in your fight. You dont want to be dismissed because you went about something the wrong way. Stay professional and never let them see you sweat.

  • Remember, you are a representation of WOC (whether you want to be or not). Other females will look to you, see how you carry yourself and even compare what you've done right (or wrong) to prove their own case. Take this with a grain of salt.

I'm hoping that if you were on the fence, my post doesnt push you away from the military. This was truly the best decision I've made. I get a sense of pride being able to say that I serve and although sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all, its never enough to make me want to quit. Quite simply, I love what I do. If you are thinking about it, however, I will say this: Do your research. Make sure the pros outweigh the cons for you, as they did for me, and once you decide that you will, dont let anyone tell you that you cant.

[ e d i t ] In the efforts to be thorough, I consulted with a fellow soldier to see if I had missed anything in this post. Turns out I did. As I said before, there are many personality types in the military. There are people that will hate you because you are pretty; because you are well kept; because you know your SHIT. Don't let those people deter you. When I became a Sergeant, no one wanted to admit that I had earned it. And as hard of a pill as that was to swallow I set out to show everyone that I wasn't just handed these stripes. I MADE THIS HAPPEN. Not just because I was pretty. It was because I knew enough to know that eventually you'd run out of crap to throw my way. And once you ran out, you'd have to acknowledge my efforts. With that being said, sometimes the biggest roadblock put in front of you is sometimes put there by counterparts who KNOW what we're going thru: other females. In my own experience, it's sad to say that I've come across only a small group of female soldiers who are willing to extend a hand to see us all grow. We shouldn't put barricades in front of each other. We are already in a male dominated environment and they do that to us enough. I'm a firm believer in the saying "If I win, we all win." So if you ever need a hand, remember that I am here. [ / e d i t ]