Now that I’m back in Norway I meet people I know, literally, everywhere! It’s quite the contrast from Sioux Falls where I can leave campus in my pyjamas, confident I’ll get away with it without stumbling upon anyone I know. (Not that I do it on a regular basis, but it has happened, and I did get away with it.)
One thing that gets me every time is that people say “I didn’t recognize you” or “Wow, you’ve really changed” Of course, depending on when you saw me last, I have probably changed quite a bit — and so have you!
I wrote a blog post about my time as a “punk” a while ago, and looking at this picture, I, sort of, see what people mean. But people still seem confused. At one point I was even asked “Do you know who you are, Maria?”
Do I? Know who I am, I mean.
Yes, that’s exactly why I’ve tried all those hairstyles. Because I don’t have my identity in my looks. I want my voice — personality, talents and gifts to represent me.
I believe the most important thing a woman can have is her voice — and that voice is who she is — regardless of how she looks.
I never tried to change my voice through my looks, but the way I looked changed the way I was heard.
And that makes me angry.
It makes me angry because people are so good at drawing hasty conclusions. When I had short hair everyone seemed to assume I was gay, when I was into bodybuilding they thought I used steroids, and when I had dreads the cashiers told me to empty my pockets before leaving the store — as if I had suddenly turned into a thief.
Imagine what our world would be like if we could see past people’s looks and instead listen to what they have to say.