Every morning I put on my armor. Not the armor you might expect, but the one that suits me well. I apply dark mascara and nude lipstick that forces you to look me in the eye so all will know I control the meeting or presentation, the high heels that make my walk more confident and powerful, the no-nonsense slacks with the cute blouse that adds the touch of friendly to the strong.
I wear this armor to protect myself as I stand for my team. I make myself available to be yelled at by customers, complained at by stressed employees, and to still walk in a room and demand respect. As I take on everyone’s frustration I push off all praise. Praise belongs to my team, give your compliments to them, I will too. I wear this armor as I coach employees, or inform customers of decisions we needed to make. I use the armor to protect me, to be that small level of seperation so I am not overwhelmed by the work I must do.
Every morning I put on my armor believing it will protect me. The strength it is faking for me will guard my heart and mind so I can take whatever comes my way. Every evening I come home and remove the armor to find that it held everything in instead of keeping it out. I remove the makeup and find a young lost women with exhausted eyes trying not to cry. The heels fall to the floor exposing my calloused unpedicured feet that feel the pain of walking through the stress of the day. The slacks and blouse are traded for yoga pants and a tank top so I can curl up in a ball on the couch and feel my heart break for the tough conversations I’ve had to have, or the difficult decisions yet to make. I take off my armor to see it didn’t protect me at all. And yet every morning I wake up and once again put on my armor. Because what other choice do I have?