Celebrate yourself, not just your shades of diversity
My father was posted in the US for a few years before I turned 12. I did not like it.
I was the brown kid with a funny Indian accent. Classmates can be cruel and relentless. They made nonstop fun of me. I desperately wished to fit in, but it was not to be. I invited the entire class to my birthday that year. Only 1 girl showed up.
I learnt to accept the outcast’s life.
I was overjoyed when my father announced we were moving back to India. I wanted to be ready for joyous times ahead.
Wait a minute! My face was so full of acne that even my parents struggled to find a place to kiss me. Everyone knows joy and acne don’t go together. Not in a young girl’s life.
I put myself to task and cleared my acne before I returned back. This was my first accomplishment. Going from intention to action to success.
If I look back, America taught me two things. One - acceptance of adversity helps. Two - action addresses adversity.
Back in India, acne-free, the first day in class, I introduced myself in an American accent. It was the natural way for me to speak, having lived there, a few years. Instantly - everyone laughed!
They labelled me a high-brow snob. I won back my outcast status, all over again. Classmates in India are also cruel and relentless, I found.
I was all of 12 when I first kissed a girl. I liked it. So, I kissed a boy the very next day. The comparison told me, maybe I liked girls better.
I did not know what to make of these new emotions.
Age 12 was a turbulent year for me. I also found I had photosensitive epilepsy.
I took to my diary and wrote poetry. On my pages, I crafted the authentic me. Though, when someone asked me to share my writings, I would change the ‘She’ to ‘He’.
Then my dad’s job took him to a different city in India. It is almost as I cast a different spell on myself and others around me.
Soon I was the most popular girl in class. Then in school. Then even page 3 mentions.
I dated men. I liked men too. I was not yet aware, I liked women more. I would spend the next 18 years becoming who I am today.
The outside turmoil was probably a reflection of the conflicts inside me. As I settled down with myself, the outside conflict disappeared, too.
Today, I am an open book. Some of these scars are my hard won medals. But I am more than merely my medals.
I am 3 shades of diversity. A woman. A queer. I have disabilities - Epilepsy, Thyroid, Tonsilitis, Stress fracture, Lactose intolerance. Yet, I am bigger than all of my labels combined.
I am happy. I am me.
Over the last 11 years, I have been a social media solutionist. I help people create their personal brands in the fastest way - organically.
It is ironic that I can help others shape the world’s opinion of them - through their own personal brands - only after I have become indifferent to what others think of me.
They say money comes running to you when you become indifferent to its allures. The same is true for media influence, for me.
So, what are the takeaways from my story?
Your own acceptance of yourself matters more than others accepting you.
When you can talk about something openly, there is no gap between your thoughts and speech. It signals acceptance.
When you can follow what you say, with commensurate action, there is no gap between your speech and actions. It announces rising above.
Most of our lives’ energy is lost in these two gaps. Plug them and the power is yours to use, as you see fit.