Too often, people are judged by their appearance than they are on their individual merits or personality. Sometimes, this manifests itself as conversations on racism, sexism, and discrimination in America. Other times, people make assumptions about someone's size, deeming them "too fat" or "too skinny" and passing judgment from there.
And sometimes, people are judged for things you don't expect them to be, for reasons that don't really make sense or have any real basis. That's exactly what happened to this nurse, and like it or not, she has something to say about it.
When people commented on her bright rainbow hair and tattoos, they assumed that her appearance was up for scrutiny and judgment, and also implied that her appearance somehow prevented her from doing her job. What this nurse wrote for social media in response is incredibly powerful, and reminds us that now more than ever, appearance doesn't mean anything.
Here's her story, in her own words.
After work I went to the store to pick up a few things.
While checking out, the cashier, looked at my name tag and said, "So what do you do there?"
I replied, "I'm a nurse."
She continued, "I'm surprised they let you work there like that. What do your patients think about your hair?" She then proceeded to ask the elderly lady that was in line behind me, "What do you think about her hair?"
The kind older lady said, "Nothing against you honey, it's just not for me."
Then the cashier continued to comment that they didn't allow that sort of thing even when she worked fast food and that she was shocked that a nursing facility would allow that.
Well, here's my thoughts. I can't recall a time that my hair color has prevented me from providing life saving treatment to one of my patients. My tattoos have never kept them from holding my hand and as they lay frightened and crying because Alzheimer's has stolen their mind. My multiple ear piercings have never interfered with me hearing them reminisce about their better days or listening to them as they express their last wishes. My tongue piercing has never kept me from speaking words of encouragement to a newly diagnosed patient or from comforting a family that is grieving.
So, please explain to me how my appearance, while being paired with my cheerful disposition, servant's heart, and smiling face, has made me unfit to provide nursing care and unable to do my job!