I was thinking about writing a long, detailed post about the Internet Content Syndication Council’s position on content mills and Mark Shields’ article at Adweek. I considered finally getting around to my “you can have your cake and eat it, too” post about leveraging otherwise crappy outlets that pay writers in residuals as article marketing resources. I even toyed with the idea of shoehorning a post that’s more about general social media concerns into something that would at least seem on-point to FWJ readers.
I decided to write about my hair.
This is My Mohawk
I’m sporting a Mohawk. It’s not a big, bright purple spiked thing, but it’s not one of those “faux-hawks” created with a bunch of gel-goop, either. It’s the real deal. Shaved sides. Three-inch strip of hair straight down the middle.
I’m thirty-nine years old. I wear not-so-cool glasses much of the time. I live in the suburbs. I take kids to fireworks shows and baseball games. I shop at the neighborhood Price Chopper and have extended conversations with the meat guys. While there are approximately 9,335,298,101 things that I’m willing to gripe about, I’m not engaged in all-out rebellion and I haven’t shoved anything through the piercing in my ear for more than a split-second since 1991 or so.
But here I am, with an outrageously silly Mohawk. And I sort of like it.
A little over a week ago, on my way to the shower, my oldest daughter asked me what I was doing. I told her I needed to clean up and to shave. She asked if I planned to shave my head. That wasn’t really a joke; I’ve been known to go intentionally bald from time to time. I told her I would emerge with a Mohawk. I was kidding. She knew I was kidding.
Then, somewhere between the Irish Spring and the girly-smelling shampoo, I decided that wasn’t the worst idea ever.
I emerged with a Mohawk. Hilarity ensued. The kid laughed. The baby wanted to rub my head as if it was a page in one of those texture books. My wife gave me the, “You’re a little weird but I’m not going to hold it against you” look.
Yesterday, I shaved down the sides again. It’s even more pronounced now. I don’t plan to keep it. It will be gone before our late July vacation. I’m enjoying it at the moment, though.
Why Am I Telling You about My Hair?
You’re probably wondering what in the hell I’m doing wasting your time with a long story about my stupid haircut. Well, here’s the payoff. I hope it makes the first ten paragraphs of this post at least somewhat worthwhile.
My neighbor works at a bank. He can’t have a Mohawk. I doubt he wants one (few do), but the fact of the matter is that he couldn’t pull it off he did. I have a friend who runs a jewelry store. Same story. My insurance agent couldn’t to Mo’. My buddy the financial planner couldn’t do it.
Me? I can chew up a few Gillettes and leave a Wednesday afternoon shower looking like a nut job.
No one is going to stop me.
And it’s not going to screw with my bottom line. I won’t lose business because I decided to follow through with a scalp joke. In fact, I’ve had a great week in terms of client acquisition while wearing the Mohawk. It might even be a good luck charm.
I can do something this obviously goofy because I have the best freaking job in the world. And so do you.
Now, I know that most of you don’t have even the slightest inclination toward Mohawkdom. You’re in this business, too, though. That means you could have one if you so desired. You could even dye it pink and then write “Sex Pistols Forever” in red Sharpie above your ears.
Or, you can decide that you don’t work on Wednesday afternoons because that’s when you go for a drive through the country with your stereo cranked up. You can wear your most comfortable clothes–even if they are, shall we say, less than professional. You can keep the TV tuned to the program of your choice or you can take your lunch at 10:58 sharp. You can pull an all-nighter and take a Tuesday off just because. Women can skip the makeup. Guys can grow the beard and/or mustache. You can scream profanity so twisted and depraved that it will peel paint if you get a rejection slip in the mail or you can parade around the house with a beach towel cape and a baseball bat scepter, honoring your freelance victories with a high-stepping parade through the laundry room.
You can do whatever you want.
Welcome to working for yourself. Welcome to freelance writing.
When you see cumbersome “how to” posts, long diatribes about the horrible state of the industry, fear-mongering about the future, gripes about the hustle and income levels, or an empty shoulder where your muse should be sitting, think about the fact that you can stand up, march to your bathroom and come out with a freaking Mohawk.
Enjoy the freedom. Take advantage of it. Enjoy yourself, express yourself and find your own, personal Mohawk.
Hey, while you’re luxuriating in your freedom, take a minute to share that Mohawk here. Tell us what you love about being your own boss.
Post-July 4 Fun Fact: The folks who dumped the English tea into Boston’s harbor boarded the ships disguised as Native Americans. They dressed like members of the Mohawk tribe. Coincidence or providence?
Deb Dorchak says
This made me wonder if you were going to start talking about World of Warcraft. All weekend Mr.T was raving about his “Night Elf Mohawk”. When T came out with that WoW character the folks in the commercial were telling him “There is no such thing as a Night Elf Mohawk!”
Mohawks are magical 🙂 And who’s gonna tell Mr. T he can’t do what he wants?
I won’t ever have a Mohawk (Night Elf or otherwise)but I like what you’re saying. Now I’m going to have to go watch Last of the Mohicans today. Rock on, Hawkeye!
Jeremy Powers says
Yesterday most of my friends were “off work” for the fifth of July. I really needed to work, but it was hard to get going while knowing everyone else was enjoying themselves. This post is the boost I needed. Although I don’t quite have the freedom of you more established folks, I have written about the dangers of wearing flip-flops, I know I have more freedom than I did just a year ago. Kudos for the upbeat thoughts.
sylvie branch says
Great article! Facebooked it, tweeted it….seriously, I just told my son the other day as we saw a waitress dressed in black from head to toe wearing a ridiculous bow tie, that I ‘never have to be nice to anyone ever again’ no more waitressing, no more mind numbing cubicle work, no more talking on the phone to strangers…I can stay home and wear sundresses and flip flops, work until the wee hours of the morning and take a day off…the freedom is dizzying. thanks for the reminder!
Awesome article. I found it somewhat odd that I stumbled upon it today since I was JUST talking about this very thing. In my case, I do sometimes wear a fauxhawk and for a long time I had purple streaks in my hair. I have visible tattoos. Guess what? No one cares. But that isn’t the best part of working for myself. The best part is that I can put aside work and have an iced tea on the patio. I can take a break to play a board game with the kids. I took the 5th off because my husband had it off. I may not always pull in massive amounts of money but, for me, it isn’t so much about the money as it is about freedom. If I want to make more, I can take on more jobs. That is all up to me. I LOVE that it is all up to me.
Su-sieee! Mac says
Love it! You’ve stated precisely why I’ve been freelancing for going on 24 years. There have been very lean years, like this one, for instance, but I would rather be here in my home making do than out there getting perturbed. Thanks for confirming it today. By the way, I shaved all my hair off at the beginning of the year just to see how long it would grow in a year. Did it with the husband who also is a freelancer. Go Carson!
WOW. you are talented. you made me want a mohawk.
well, let’s see. I just wrote a couple posts at about.com about working while camping.
This year we are also going to Disney World, NYC, Niagara and Mackinac Island. There are 2 freedoms in this:
1) I never EVER EVER have to ask someone if I can “have vacation time.”
2) Financial freedom. That’s a lot of travel in the space of a couple months.
P.S. Jones says
This is my favorite thing about being a freelancer. I’ve always had a problem with following other people’s rules. As a freelancer, I (mostly) get to make my own. My worst day a freelance writer was ten million times better as my best day as anything else.
Patti Stafford says
Yep! Gotta love the writer’s life.
After reading this I thought up two new titles I could do something with.
1. Underwear is Optional
2. This is my Hair and I’m Sticking to It.
You are coming up with some catchy stuff lately. I’m really enjoying getting to see your lighter side. That’s also another cool thing about being a writer; as long as you deliver the goods, you can be yourself on the job–more so than other professions.