Skip to main content

Being a Misfit does not mean you do not FIT

I recently was invited to speak at two primary schools for their career day. The National Theme was, "Expanding Horizons for Vision 2010." There was never a concern in my mind about what I would speak about. That part would be rather easy. The work that Habitat for Humanity, the International Non-Governmental Organisation for which I work, is doing in three vulnerable communities in Portmore, St. Catherine, with regards to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), was enough to give me material to share with the students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders. Plus, I am extremely passionate about my job and about our sanitation project.

On the contrary, my preoccupation was about what I look like: What should I wear? How should I wear my hair? Would my long, bleached hair (as a male) offend them in that context? Should I show up with my earrings? Is it professional for me to show up there looking the way that I do?

You see, about a year ago, I made a conscious, deliberate and almost defiant decision to show up as my authentic self, wherever I go. I had all my life been told that I was not quite good enough - that I would be a lot more acceptable if I did this or that. Under that tutelage, I had believed that I was not worthy. And even though in more recent times, part of my mandate has been to affirm worth and build esteem through my #IAMworthy self development programme, I had not yet accepted parts of me as worthy to be presented to my audience. That struck me as me being a hypocrite. Here I was preaching a message of self worth and teaching others the importance of identity and finding clarity in their personal and professional lives but there were areas in my own life where I was not quite measuring up in.

I started, by choosing to show up to work, church, speaking engagements in my earrings and long hair (later on, I bleached the ends). My boss, at the time, looked everyday to see what my hairstyle or hair colour would be and sometimes, it became a conversation starter at many of my speaking engagements. The answers to the questions "How come?" and "why?" always seem to resonate at some level with those individuals and lead to a greater level of self-acceptance and affirmation of WORTH. Suddenly, people feel like they can open up to and share with me.

There have been the flip side too. Me showing up as my authentic self has rewarded me with some unflattering labels. In church, where I was a leader, I have "offended" some, who felt that I was not setting a "good" example, as a leader, to the youth. I certainly understood their location of their perceptions and biases and empathised with them. However, I refused to conform! I reasoned that if for any reason, that you cannot receive my message because of what I look like, then you were NOT my audience to begin with.
Very often, we assume that it is important to fit in. Could it be that where we do not fit is precisely because we should not fit. Could it be that the people we are trying to speak to is not our audience. Could it be that not fitting in is for the greater purpose of drawing those you must reach to you and in so doing live out your purpose? We are so concerned about not interrupting the status quo that we live unfulfilled, purposeless lives.

Needless to say, I showed up as ME - Damien Marcus Williams. My message was received and to my amazement, one conservative looking, elderly lady said to me. I am loving your hair and your personality. In that moment, she blessed me. I had confirmation in my own heart that being a misfit does not mean I do not fit, if I fit comfortably within my own skin.

INSTAGRAM: @damienmwilliams
TWITTER: @damienmwilliams
FACEBOOK: Damien Marcus Williams

Comments

  1. Such an inspiration...I love it...thank you for sharing ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read. Your feedback means a lot. :) #YouAreWorthy

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Comfort is OVERRATED & Will Stunt Your GROWTH!!!

I have been thinking a lot lately about success and growth. I think many of us aspire to success and there are different versions of how that may manifest in our lives. For some, success shows up in the accumulation of wealth, degrees, notoriety or accomplishing simple life goals. Personally, I believe that each of us deposited into this realm of existence came with a specific assignment to benefit the earth and that success will be measured by how well I have lived out my specific assignment.

(My Photo: Community Workshop facilitation)

Whatever success looks like to you, you will have to agree that success does not happen by osmosis or luck. Success begins with a paradigm shift. I call it the cultivation of the growth mindset. One ways of thinking that we have to cultivate in this growth mindset towards success is that we must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. We underestimate and undervalue the profitability of challenge, opposition and discomfort in developing intellectu…

The Wicked Woman We Love to Hate!

Choose a Caribbean island - any one. There's a mother who's just beat her child with the first thing that her hands fall on. The Caribbean is inundated with narratives of mothers who dare not spare the rod and spoil the child - mothers who dig up ants nest and put their child to kneel in it, on a grater with their hands tied behind their back; mothers who use a hot iron to burn the hand of their thieving child; mothers who go into schools to box up the disrespectful child for answering back teacher and bringing shame to her name.
These are the things that Caribbean mothers do. They do this, not necessarily because they are wicked, but in the name of discipline.

We are a people who have learned violence. It's become part of our social DNA. Our parents learned that violence was how transgressors are taught to do better and behave better. They learned such violence from their parents, and their parents from theirs and their parents from the plantation. The whip is what we le…

SUPERHEROES & SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media, and in particular twitter, has become a space for spewing caustic and vitriolic effluent at people with whom we disagree. I am sometimes amazed at how people feel so empowered and emboldened sitting behind a screen to descend into the bowels of utter nastiness to express dissent to something that someone else posted. It is worse now that we have 280 characters instead of 140. It means that the nastiness is times two. But social media can be and has been used as a source of good. I have been the beneficiary of deep friendships and formed a formidable network of people who have supported and pushed me along in my professional and personal life.Yet, we do not hear many stories about the power and reach of social media. In this post, I want to speak about a quiet Superhero that I encountered on social media.

I had been working in three vulnerable communities in the last couple of years on a urban disaster risk reduction project being implemented by Habitat for Humanity Jamai…

ShareThis