The Mask I Wore in Summer 97'
by Kristy Stout, co-founder, Stay Bright Movement
At the end of my freshman year of college, I sold door-to-door pest control for the long-standing, reputable company, Terminix. Sales were slow and often consisted of little more than giving my spiel to a kind but uninterested listener, knocking on a door with no answer, or having the door promptly shut (or worse, slammed) in my face. The following summer, with the promise of higher pay per sale, my roommate and I opted to work for "another" company, one which was new to the pest control industry. Little did we know, we would not only be signing contracts door-to-door as we had in the past, but we would also be in charge of servicing our customers' homes for their very first pest control application!
We quickly learned the ropes- dusting down spiderwebs from the eaves and pumping the pressurized can just the right amount so that the trajectory of the spray landed exactly half on the side of the house and half on the landscaping butted up against the house. I can remember telling my first customer, "Thank you for signing with us, we will see you on Wednesday for your first service," and then seeing the shock on their faces when indeed, I did see them Wednesday, fully suited in a white, hazmat jumpsuit, a dusk mask covering my nose and mouth.
I don't know if it was the looks of confusion, skepticism, or sometimes annoyance, from customers who were merely wondering if they'd been duped into signing a contract with a suspicious and potentially phony company that made me feel insecure, or my own awareness of how this all "looked" on the outside. After all, I was just a blonde, 20 year-old, female college student. I couldn't possibly be their bug guy too. Though I was officially a California licensed pest control service technician, I felt like a complete FRAUD! I was glad the mask hid my face.
With each sale and service I became more confident in my abilities, determined to give my customers the best initial de-bugging they could imagine. I wasn't a fraud, even if other people wondered if I was. I wasn't a fraud, no matter how much I felt like I was. I had the skills to do exactly what I was doing! And... I was quite good at it, taking great pride in my work (more stories on that to come- just imagine damp crawlspaces unchecked for years... eek!).
Often times in our lives we wonder:
Am I a fraud?
Am I a hypocrite?
Am I an imposter?
We wonder these things because we think others are looking at us questioning, "What does she think she's doing?" And maybe, just maybe, they are! However, we each have incredibly unique abilities (more than being able to use a bug sprayer and dust wand), and we want to confidently go forth and shine our unique talents and gifts out to the world.
We aren't frauds because we try something new and aren't perfect at it yet. We aren't imposters because we are naturally talented (experts, really!) at organizing, cleaning, befriending, cake decorating, garage storage installation, or any other number of beautiful talents in the world, but don't have a degree in it. We aren't hypocrites because we profess one thing we deeply believe and then act contrary to what we profess, because making mistakes will happen while we learn the applications of life.
We are all human, just striving for improvement and excellence. We have to stumble to grow, that's just part of the process. So let's get our hazmat suits on to protect us from the critics of the world. Let's bust through our insecurities so that humankind can benefit from all we have to offer. Take off the mask, show your face, and be who you were always meant to be!
Stay Bright Y'all
- Stay Bright Movement