Nelson Mandela once said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it."
Fear has played a pervasive role in my life. It has paralyzed me into inaction, corralled me into irrational behavior, and provided me with enough hurdles to last a lifetime. I have slowly been conquering many of those fears, or at least ignoring them in the interest of achieving goals, but silencing my inner critic is a constant struggle. The little voice on my shoulder spewing about my inadequacies drives me, but it comes with a high price.
I have wanted to dye my hair purple for years. Fear held me back from making the change. How would it look? What would people think?
Living in Seattle made me less concerned about what people would think. There are a few coworkers who are highly respected for their work and rock unconventional looks. One of our program managers has gorgeous black hair with a huge chunk of electric blue. Others have had neon highlights, mohawks, and rainbow hair. There are tattoos, piercings, body modifications, and more - and most of us don't bat an eyelash. There are still some ignorant people out there, but Seattle is a pretty progressive place to live. Another perk... most tech companies have a really relaxed dress code.
My purple hair is a reminder to move past the fear and enjoy life.
Have you conquered any of your fears?