It’s me, Gail, the Head of Monkey Business. This month is Pride and I have been inspired by a recent post from @chefmelissaking talking about self-identity. It got me to thinking (prepare yourselves, this might run long).
I call myself an African-Canadian Jewish Lesbian. But what does such a label mean? Does it really tell you who I am? Labels can be important. Identity is important. Tribe is important. But the reality is I am what I am and I don’t think it can be easily defined by labels.
I’ve never been part of a tribe. For most of my life I was (and am) a journalist. A truth seeker. A story teller. An observer. Rarely a participant. Usually behind the camera and holding the pen. I was never girly. More of a tomboy riding my bike, throwing balls around. As a kid, I liked wearing ties. I was crafty and a nerdy reader. I never liked wearing dresses or makeup. I was a master (or mistress) of finding ways to entertain myself. Fitting in — not my forte.
My hair needs to be short to feel like it’s me. When I was younger, slimmer, I was often mistaken for a boy. I didn’t mind. Boys always seemed to get to do more stuff. And their clothes were definitely more comfortable.
If I could spend my life in a T-shirt and jeans/shorts, that would be perfect. But boys’ and men’s clothes don’t really fit right. Women’s clothes are not seemingly made for my body either — and that was no more obvious than after putting on some weight and trying to find shirts to start moving and getting sweaty again in.
I love Ts and super soft fabric against my skin. I’ve always wanted to make clothes that fit me (and for all those other people out there with bodies like mine). So when after 25 years I left the grind of full-time journalism, launching my own line of shirts made perfect sense. Who knew there was so much I didn’t know? (Probably everyone!)
But what I do know is I want to support women who want to get their bodies moving and make them feel good about themselves, or at least comfortable so they don’t feel cut off before they’ve even begun. Having a shirt that fits and feels good may not seem like much, but it’s really a lot. Throw in some Canadian pride and a sassy monkey having adventures and that’s a winning combo.
So I say, love everyone. Be kind. Be understanding. Celebrate excellence and achievement at every level. Collaborate and share ideas. Support other women (in business and in life). Give back to the community. And have a laugh wherever and whenever you can.
Through all the trials and tribulations, I’m maintaining my confidence that success is just one more try away.
I am proud to be me.
Happy Pride everyone.