Moving from a small southern city to a Big city was a true wake up call to truly embrace and know who I am. I come from a background of saying "Yes Maam /Sir, No Maam/Sir," and being welcoming and friendly with everyone. After my move, it did not take long for me to feel the need to suppress my authentic self.
I felt that it took a while for others to be receptive of me, which in turned made me question my personality. "Am I too lively?!" "Do they think I'm country?!" "Maybe I shouldn’t be so personable when I first meet people ."
Another layer was added when I entered "Corporate America." From my lens there is only a handful of people that are of African descent, and you know who makes up the majority! I initially felt that I had to make sure I didn’t depict the negative connotations of African Americans and be a positive representation to the best of my ability (since I'm probably one of a few African Americans they interact with on a daily basis anyway)! I thought the best way to go about this was to again, suppress my authentic self and act "professional" like the majority.
These thoughts came to mind until I realized that if you're not true to yourself it can rid you of much joy and peace! So, I'm now defining what's "professional" (keeping in mind there is a time and place for everything) and embracing who I am and Whose I Am! I'm learning that I'm in this big city and work environment for a reason; to be salt and a light for others to see HIM!
I say all this to say, don’t lose your edge girl! "You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone- profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are." Danielle Laporte
Leslie, 28, is just a woman striving to live her best life and be a blessing to others!