Finding Confidence in our Diversity

On my way out for a morning walk, I noticed a Planthopper (or “torpedo bug”) on my front door. At only a quarter-inch in size, these little leaf-like insects can jump two-feet –a distance of 96 times it’s own length!

Yet it spends most of its time blending into its surroundings, holding perfectly still, pretending to be a leaf.

How many of us do that? Hide our natural talents, personality and characteristics to camouflage with everyone else.

I did for years. I still do sometimes. Quick, act normal. Don’t let them find out you’re different!

I remember Opposite Day, a themed dress-up day, in grade school.

I decided to wear my sweatshirt as pants, and my pants as a shirt. (I was nine-years-old and making it up as I went along.)

Oh, how my peers mocked me. You did it wrong, dummy! That’s not what they meant, ditzy! You’re so weird!

I dammed up my tears as my chest felt like it was folding back into itself.

Before lunch, I swapped my clothes back to customary and sank lower in my chair. I no longer raised my hand to participate; I wanted to dissolve into the floor and disappear forever.

As an adult, I rarely spoke up in large groups unless asked a direct question. In those instances my stomach would drop to my toes and sweat would pour from my armpits and down my back. I became fidgety with nervous energy. I also found it difficult to formulate words and speak complete sentences, especially in the company of people who intimidated me.

I learned to fade into the background at work with my monotone suits, simple makeup with no lipstick, and preppy hairstyle. I sought out working in the shadow of corporate stars as an excuse to hide. Always playing an agreeable, supporting role yet yearning to be more.

My hunch is I’m not alone. That you, too, feel the need to blend in unseen and unheard.

The last few years, though, I’ve been coming out. This change became more outwardly apparent when I bleached and died a section of my brown hair purple.

These days, I speak my mind without considering what others might think or say. I vulnerably put my authenticity in the spotlight of my blog and dare to call myself the Elation Explorer.

I have cut off unhealthy relationships without regard to others’ judgments of my character.  I have stopped apologizing for being different because we all are different. That’s the wonderfully beautiful part!

What if we all claim our diversity, and celebrate each other’s core being and natural gifts?

We can do this by making one small change toward opening up our true colors. We can take one step out of that blending bush. And then another small step, and another.

When we can stand confidently in our uniqueness, we become this mighty Planthopper – leaping remarkable lengths from the green bush to stand out in bold contrast against a white door.