I remember when I first got my law degree and how excited I was to finally be a respected member of the profession. I wanted to use my skills to advocate for and guide artists that didn't understand their rights. Yes, there was a little fear of the unknown but that was overshadowed by the excitement of possibility and the promise that I could practice law, my way.
Then... I actually started to meet other lawyers, see the facades that they had to keep up in places like court, with their clients, in the company of colleagues, to their partners of their firms and it puzzled me. Wear suits, don't show emotion, pretend you know more than anyone else in the room, prove yourself, laugh at their jokes, be in the room with the right people. Play the game. It was all a shock.
I didn't understand it. Play the game? I was still this crazy, expressive, emotional, rebellious artist inside. The woman that loves to dance around her room doing routines to Beyonce songs (yes, I know the entire "Single Ladies" routine). The one that hears something heart-warming and cries. The woman that enjoys pole dancing and is unapologetic about being emotional and intuitive, having natural hair, being a lesbian, caring less about appearances and more about helping. It was very clear to me (and them) that I didn't belong there. I couldn't express all of who I was.
So I became an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship was the vehicle for me to be ALL of me. The ability to make my own decisions and practice law in the way that I wanted to serve (and with whom). It was the ultimate freedom. I had a choice. It wasn't easy to build a business but the decision to either hide myself or showcase who I am and allow all my flags to fly was a no-brainer.
Yes, I am a lawyer. However, that is not all that I am. I am an artist. An educator. A warrior. A believer. A healer. An innovator. An entrepreneur. A seeker. A goddess. A buddha. A guide. A doer. A thinker. A crier. A dancer. A creator. A lover. A emotionally expressive person. A lesbian. A friend. A daughter. A sister. An advocate. An athlete. A creative. A beauty. An activist. A human. A spirit. A woman. I am.
I believe that we should be free to redefine our language and our self-imposed identities (if you have them) to allow freedom to showcase all of who we are. Expressing your personal power is the best light you can give the world.
In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance let's express all of who we are without apology and remember those that had the courage to do the same.