This past week, I had to travel to a work conference and I was put in many social situations where I felt I did not belong. The room was filled mainly with white males in their 40’s and 50’s. Being that I am woman in her 20’s and gay, I felt out of place. The industry I work in is very small, so many of the attendees have worked with each other for years, which also made it hard to be noticed and strike up conversations with people that essentially are all old friends. It was weird for me to feel like the odd person out because I love people, all people and am pretty good at finding ways to connect with others.
However, this didn’t stop me from going and still chatting with others. I didn’t try and change the way I do my hair, or conform to more feminine outfits to be viewed more professionally or get others to take me seriously. I stayed me in a place where being me was completely different from the rest of the crowd. I didn’t think much about it, I showed up each day and did my job. What I found was more than a few people that I spoke with said how they had noticed me throughout the week, even telling me that they loved my hair and my style. This shocked me, I felt that I had been blending into the background, being so different that these attendees didn’t even notice me. I was wrong.
I was making an impact when I was least expecting it. I was bucking the status quo of what the typical person in this industry looks like and by just being me, I was being noticed. What I took away from this experience, was the reminder that it is important to always be yourself. When you are true to yourself, you never know who is watching, taking note and admiring you for being exactly what you are meant to be, YOU.
Lastly, I want to share the below picture with you and the story that goes with it. This is a caricature that an artist did of me at dinner one night. I feel that they captured me to a T in only a few minutes. They had been drawing me from a far and I didn’t even know it. They came up and presented this picture to me and I loved that without even talking to me they were able to capture my essence. Another reminder that when you are the best version of yourself, people notice and people appreciate it.