Written by Evan Garbayo, Insight Global Recruiting Manager, Philadelphia
Pride for me means having the courage to live authentically in my truth, without fear. Pride is a time for celebration and recognition. A time to celebrate my journey to living fully and authentically as myself and a time to recognize the growth in acceptance and representation of our community.
Growing up in a small town in the Northeast, I knew no one like me; I was different. I did not have heroes on television or in sports that represented who I was. Although I had extremely supportive parents and extended family who loved me, I had no one to talk to and validate who I was or what I was feeling. This made for a childhood full of anxiety and insecurity. At school events, summer camps, and social gatherings filled with other people, I felt alone. I was left searching for something, but I didn’t know what for.
In college, and after many years of going through life having my light dimmed by other people’s expectations of what they thought I should be, I finally had the courage to come out and let my light shine. It was one of the scariest and toughest moments in my life. But it was also one of the most liberating and freeing moments I have ever experienced. It was in this moment I chose to live as my true authentic self.
As I progressed into adulthood and the corporate world, I find myself so proud to have found a workplace that accepts me for exactly as I am. A work environment where diversity of thought is not only accepted but encouraged. An environment where I feel safe. A place where coworkers become friends and then family. And a home where I can let my light shine, so I can be the light for others. I am a better coworker, friend, brother, son, and partner to my fiancé because I have the freedom to bring my whole self to work.
To me, living authentically means no longer erasing parts of who you are to make others feel comfortable. It means being freed from the traditions and norms that society places on each of us before we are even born. To me, it means no longer feeling the fear or shame of being different. It means, living passionately, courageously, resiliently, and unapologetically as you.
The validation I was searching for all those years ago wasn’t something I was going to find out in the universe. What I was searching for, was found within me.
Be proud. Be authentic. Be you.