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Professionalism means wearing a button down shirt in grey, black or navy colors, but most importantly, it means covering up your toes and your boobs. Basically, it's important to hide your body and all markers that you might actually have curves. You should absolutely prioritize erasure of any markers of a "lower" class status than the desirable upper middle class (i.e. tattoos, piercings, etc).

Do not curse, address everyone with a neutral tone, and mostly try to say a lot of "Please" and "Thank you," despite how much you may or may not mean. Do not yell, do not get too excited, and passion that is not followed with some linear logic is most definitely discouraged.

Growing up and becoming successful usually means adapting this comportamiento and dress that is not about where everyone comes from, but where everyone should want to be. Growing up and becoming respectable usually means forcing yourself to accept this newer version of yourself, and calling it an improvement.  

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Becoming what we are all supposed to aspire to become, and MAKING IT, means buying into it all. Becoming the "best version" of ourselves means distancing ourselves from people who come from lower economic backgrounds than whatever economic class we aspire to become, including friends and family. Professionalism is like that, it takes all those things that people should be proud of, like where you come from, and makes some of us ashamed of it, while praising others.

I have long hated how much of myself I had to shed to become this “improved” version of myself. Adulthood forces this onto you. Getting an education, and then getting more of an education than the majority of the U.S. population certainly means buying all of that shit. But if I look in the mirror and I can no longer recognize myself, then what have I gained? Do I want this "power" gained through the pure dismissal of entire communities that are considered inferior?

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If power and status comes at the price of no longer recognizing myself, I think I’ll take a hard pass on that offer. But it is difficult to say fuck you to all those things. I find no real comfort in the life I have chosen, but then again is performing someone else’s notion of "respectable" even really an option for me?

I stand in the mirror and I look long and hard at this brown immigrant body, and I think: Who am I trying to impress? Where am I going? Who is going to be there when I get there?

I just hope wherever I go, I see mi gente there in all our colors and vibrance, and void of these externally imposed notions of professionalism.