Last fall, my friend Chanel and I visited Paris for a bit of retail therapy and some sightseeing; in other words, the trip was just for the heck of it. While posing for pictures and generally goofing around, a couple of strangers approached and asked if we could be photographed together; I enthusiastically agreed, flattered beyond words. My outfit matched the French national colours by design, so I thought ‘might as well, I’m pretty much part of the décor here’.
On a personal level, the requests held a much deeper significance for me. A hopeless introvert with the unfortunate ability of elevating awkwardness into an art form, I had previously come to a decision that much as that is my personality, I still wanted to try and overcome that, to become more open, spontaneous even. Much as our personality is fixed to a large extent, I still felt it’s never too later to try and affect some level of change.
Coming from a financial background –a back office profession– all I knew in my career-change search was that this time around I wanted to work in the front office. Yes I was taking a big risk, but more than anything, I knew that I wanted to affect change from the frontlines, interfacing with the customer, the end-user, the very group of people that transact directly with the company’s value-offering.
My search wasn’t straightforward, but that’s a whole other blogpost.
To me, these photos signify the progression of that journey. That I would be bubbly enough and approachable to attract the attention of strangers is exhilarating. That they would then want to capture that connection in photos is humbling. I feel blessed to now be working in a career that requires me to interact with strangers and I must say I have made many a random friend as I navigate through this new life.
The awkwardness is still there, I still get fidgety and iffy about how to strike up a conversation, be it with a colleague or a customer. But then there are days when my smile is assured, my stride bold and confident; I get my best compliments on such days. I guess like in every other aspect of my life, I am a work in progress. The more I get out and face the masses, the more relaxed I’ll be; this I believe.
And to these beautiful souls who shared my journey in this brief instance, thank you for being kind, for seeing me, for letting your light shine on me. I am touched by your grace and your radiance illuminates my eyes. Because of you I stand taller today, shoulders back, chin titled up ever so slightly. And for that I have you to thank.