2011 was the year.

We were in a relationship for exactly 1.5 years to the day when I decided that if he was the right person for me, he would support me with my crazy ideas. Not that it was a test…well maybe kinda.

Something came over me. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to feel empowered, bold, and daring. And cutting my hair was one easy way I could achieve all of that. Short hair, don’t care.

I wanted this decision to be all mine, devoid of any external pressures of trying to fit in with all the other girls. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Ultimately, I wanted to feel brave.

See, the truth is that I never quite fit in.

I never had the beautiful long hair, the smokey eyes, or the red lipstick. My parents didn’t let me put nail polish on until I was 13. 13!

I was 18 when I got my first eye shadow palette.

Heels? Ha! Don’t even ask.

From a very young age, I’ve felt inferior to all those “other” girls that boys looked at. How could I not, when I had short hair up until the 4th grade because my dad didn’t let me grow it out? In 5th grade, the popular girls all had long hair, colored nails, and platform shoes, while I was playing dodge ball, kickball, and outrunning the boys.

I was on a different wavelength. I was not a “pretty” girl by any means, but that’s ok because I was the smart girl. Looking back, I’m grateful to not have paid much attention to my appearance and choosing instead to focus on my intellect, but now as an adult woman, I lack the patience and knowledge to make myself pretty, which frustrates me sometimes.

Instead of dwelling too much on my shortcomings, I choose to make myself noticed in other ways. And my goodness do I enjoy making people look/think twice! That’s one of the many reasons why my husband and I decided to give our son my last name instead of his. I like to challenge people’s beliefs and traditional notions. Plus it gets them talking.

Whether that’s wearing a professional outfit on when everyone else is wearing jeans, or cutting my hair so short that I end up looking like my husband. Either way works. People notice.

In 2011, they noticed.

And let me tell you, something happens when people notice you. You see yourself differently. You see yourself from their perspective and realize that standing out feels awesome.

“Wow! I could never chop my hair off, you’re so brave!”

While I felt self-conscious initially, once the shock wore off, I knew I was on the path of personal improvement because now I felt like I could do anything.

And when you feel like you can anything, guess what happens?

You can do anything.