Welcome to my Golden Carrot talk for InkHouse. This is the story of a girl who fights an invisible battle while doing her best to work hard, be a good person and keep a smile on her face.
There was a time in my professional career when I was considered mean – just ask some of the oldest standing InkHouse employees about mean Laura, and they will confirm she existed. Feedback on projects or assignments was always quick and direct, I was not easy to approach and I was easily frustrated by, well, everything. I had a very hard time relating to the millennial audience’s need for flowery feedback and constant praise. By all appearance, I was just an unhappy person.
So, where did mean Laura go? Mean Laura disappeared when she was finally treated for her autoimmune disease. Mean Laura disappeared when the severe pain she lived in day to day became more manageable. I’ve generally become very good at hiding the battle I fight every day, though sometimes it is harder than others. It’s unlikely that you’d know that, when I start to flare up, I still come to work – with low-grade fevers and headaches that last for weeks at a time. In Mean Laura’s wake, I’ve become friendlier and more approachable.
In my Golden Carrot Talk, I wanted to dive deeper into the practices of compassion. We live in a world where our lives are carefully curated to give the appearance of bliss, perfection, excitement and togetherness. As a result, many deeply believe that the perception is the reality. This is true not just of the beautiful moments we filter and share on Instagram, but also of how a person carries themselves day-to-day. This belief has caused the breakdown of empathy and has stunted our ability to honor not just our humanness, but the humanity of others. Just as my illness is invisible, everyone around us is working with some kind of pain, insecurity or struggle that shapes who we are and how we interact with the people around us. My hope is that my talk will act as a simple reminder to be more compassionate to ourselves and those we encounter throughout our days.