A friend recently remarked that I was still as self-deprecating as in my teenage years, and in typical fashion, I laughed off the comment. A week later, for some reason the comment resurfaced in my head, and I wondered why I was coming across that way when I had been working exceptionally hard in my career and had already achieved so much to be proud of. As context is always important when discussing these things, I referred back to being bullied throughout my schooling career – both for my ambiguous ethnicity and my physical appearance. Thinking back to the child in need of reassurance, rarely had someone comforted with a reminder that I was MORE than just my appearance. Instead, I’d often get told “don’t worry, you’ll grow in to your features” or “they’re just jealous of you”, and although meant to comfort me, it only led me to believe that appearance was all that really defined someone.
Fast forward over a decade later, I embrace a different attitude towards my ambiguous ethnicity and physical appearance. It’s a shift in perspective that has allowed me to obtain a university degree, become an entrepreneur, develop strong relationships and let my guard down when it matters – all possible because I came to value myself as a person.
However, as states the metaphor that there is light at the end of the tunnel, for yours truly, this new-found attitude came from a place of self-doubt. You see, when I started freelancing I knew exactly where I wanted to be in 5 years, and set goals on how to get there. With a quick dive in at the deep end, I began looking at everyone as my competition, sometimes feeling at a disadvantage because of my age and having started later than most in my career. This perspective hindered my success, and only when I learnt to embrace my unique voice, was I able to find my platform. And with that, I decided to learn from and be inspired by my peers, who were risk-takers, rule breakers and unique voices of value – they were human beings just like me, with passion, ideas, and determination.
As women, we are so much more than a face and body; having certainty in our ideas, having informed opinions and being 100% for or against something is truly worth celebrating. I strongly believe that placing value on your achievements, whatever they may be, is crucial to succeeding in a career filled with uncertainties and self-doubt. When you truly believe in yourself, you can face countless set-backs and come back stronger, because you believe in your ideas enough to ferociously pursue them with unwavering passion.
As I close off this narrative, I leave you with a few of my most reliable style staples for staying productive and keeping motivated, because a wardrobe of good basics and strong elements is oft all the ammo you need to take charge.
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