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I'm Me. No Apologies.

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I'm Me. No Apologies.

Nicole Emery

This life can have some difficult spaces to navigate from time to time.  The hardest space I've found to navigate as a woman is in the professional arena.  There have been numerable times when my internal compass points in a direction that rubs against cultural norms not ready to shift.  That is when the ruckus happens both internally and externally.

Do I make apologies for it?  For many years I did.  Routinely apologizing for being different for all sorts of things.  You name it I apologized for it.  You know what happened with each apology that wasn't necessary?  A piece of me got resentful, and those pieces added up quickly.

20 years later I faced an intense situation that required me to make a decision.  Choose to conform or choose to be me.  I chose to be me.  No apology.

I wish I could say that turning point moment had a happy ending.  It didn't.  My female boss was faced with a similar dilemma about "conform or not to conform."  Her choice was quite different than mine.  She was also empowered to remove individuals that weren't in support of her thoughts.  This meant my choice relieved me of my position effective the same day.

To this day I make no apology for my choice.  Nor do I regret it.

The loss of a job makes you aware of some tough facts.  For me it changed everything and made me aware of everything.  Could I have handled things better?  Absolutely.  Would it have changed the outcome?  My guess is probably not, but there is no way of knowing for sure. 

A handful of things became crystal clear...

I took ownership of who I am, my actions and the power of my choice.  This was liberation at its finest.  No apologies.

I do not have to settle.  Period.  No apology needed.

I am a woman.  Simple.  No apology needed.

I am also someone who loves color.  Loves to get curious about most topics and the obstacles that hold me back.  I am also someone that enjoys connection.  Being part of a team with lots of creative diversity.  I also believe in acknowledging the contributions of my teammates.  No apology necessary for this either.

These days my apologies are never for who I am.  They are for genuine reasons that don't cause resentment build up within me.  Big difference.  Hopefully you don't have to wait for an extreme situation to realize this like I did.

Be you.  No apologies.