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A double-edged sword

Throughout my youth and well into my mid-thirties, my nickname was “Smiley.”

This label, though seemingly positive, became a mask I wore – a mask that concealed my true self, especially as someone who is neurodiverse.

Smiling was my way of fitting into a world where my unique way of processing and responding was often overlooked.

A recent piece of feedback made me reflect deeply on this aspect of my past:

“If you want to convey your message, the best way is with a smile.”

While this advice is often standard, for me, it echoed an old narrative where my authenticity was overshadowed by the need to conform through a perpetual smile.

💚 But here’s the pivotal change – now, I choose authenticity over conformity.

The journey from being 'Smiley' to embracing my true self has been transformative.

It's about shedding the layers of expectation and embracing the diverse ways in which we express and experience the world.

As a neurodiverse individual, I've learned the immense value of being authentic.

❤️‍🔥 It’s not just about breaking free from the superficiality of a constant smile, but about honoring the depth and richness of genuine expression.

It's about recognizing that the power of a message lies not just in its delivery, but in the truth and perspective it carries.

In my advocacy for diversity and inclusion, especially in the tech world, I champion environments where authenticity is celebrated.

🐲 Where feedback is a gateway to understanding diverse minds and not a tool for enforcing conformity.

Let's redefine the narrative.

Let’s value people for their authentic selves, not just for the masks they wear.

It's time to acknowledge and celebrate the myriad ways in which we communicate and perceive the world.

Here's to embracing our true selves, in all their complexity and beauty.

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