I always wanted to be known for who I am, not for whose arm I’m standing on.
Being a young girl in business, I always had to be very aware of how I was being portrayed to my colleagues. I wanted to be known for my skill set and the quality of work I provided, not for my appearance. This was always fresh in my mind and the reputation I build in my industry was very important to me.
Things changed a bit when I started to date my current boyfriend. He was a former athlete and was well known in my city and well, to anyone who follows hockey. I started noticing soon after making our relationship public that it wasn’t my business reputation I was fighting to keep now, it was my personal identity.
I didn’t help that he was also almost 20 years my senior. People instantly judged us from all angles. They assumed that I was just the arm candy to the hockey pro. I will never forget the first time I overheard some overdressed “society type” refer to me as “the flavor of the week”. I was infuriated and remember thinking to myself, “ How dare them! Did they know who I was? I made my own money, my own path in this town! “
I was a successful young woman. I had busted my ass to be respected and at the top of my game within the automotive industry where I had been thriving for years. I was certainly not JUST the girl standing next to Tony Twist, I was much much more than that.
Luckily, I was born with a feisty spirit and not a lot of filter so I began speaking up when we were out in public. I would introduce myself, talk about what I did for a living and never even let the conversation even go to subject of Tony or his life experiences. I made a point to be seen as ME in those circles and it worked. Not at first, but after awhile I was respected there too.
Flash forward to the days where I left my corporate job and started putting my heart and soul into building my own business, my own brand. I had two options, I could use my stance as this powerful man’s girlfriend to my advantage or I could forge my way as ME, rarely even mentioning his existence. I chose the second option.
I knew one fact remained, I did NOT want to be known as some guys girlfriend and I certainly didn’t want someone to favor me or give me more of a chance because of who my boyfriend was.
For the past couple of years I’ve grown my business into what it is today and I’m still building that momentum, still building. I’ve worked hard to position myself as the queen of productivity and have been referred to as a top project manager by some pretty big names. I forged that all with my own skills, my work ethic, and by being ruthlessly committed to being a damn good manager. In January, I also made a promise to myself to share everything with my tribe. To use my experiences to help people. To build my own brand off full authenticity.
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my brand, what I share, and how I put it out there. It really matters to me is that I build this all on my own. I built this because I wanted to be known for who I am, not for whose arm I’m on. But lately I’ve been fighting a bit of an internal battle around the FULL authenticity of my brand and what I share. I am committed to sharing all of my life and my experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly. And then I realized, I haven’t been. I’ve hid my relationship. A huge part of my life for over 4 years. The abnormally large man that stands in my shadow when it comes to this life I’m building.
Why? Fear I guess.
I didn’t want to talk about hockey fight stories. I didn’t want to hear about his age. I didn’t want to be seen as a “gold digger” or “arm candy” in this world I have built for myself. Then I realized, I KNOW I’m NOT those things so why am I so worried about what other people have to say?
With grace and integrity I have shared my life with you. My struggles and my wins. It’s time to truly rip away anything else I may be hiding behind. It’s time to release that fear and be truly and completely RAW.
Yes, I always wanted to be known for who I am, not for whose arm I’m standing on and I’m pretty damn sure that I’ve proven that point.
Ego aside. Fear knocked out of the way. Time to be completely raw.