Blending in 2

What comes to mind when you hear the word camouflage?

The word reminds me of the small reptile known as a chameleon.

I went to high school in a small country town in Kenya, where I was born. This part of the country is geographically known as the highlands and known for its lush green landscapes. Here you would find these small reptiles.

At a glance, one cannot spot the chameleons. Not because of their size, but due to the fact that they would blend in with the leaves, branches, or the stem.  I got so fascinated by these animals that I began to observe them more closely. When seated on the stem of a tree, the chameleon would change from green to brown! I came to learn that the blending in was what enabled the chameleons to catch their prey without being spotted first! Without a shadow of a doubt, these creatures had mastered the art of camouflage for survival.

When I look back in my life, there are times I have attempted to camouflage, just like the chameleon. Times when I allowed myself to blend in with my surroundings and did everything possible to fit in.

This could look like following a #hashtag on social media that encouraged posting a random photo without understanding the ‘why’ behind it. At other times it looked like saying ‘yes’ way too often to others’ requests, afraid of not upsetting anyone, all while putting my needs on hold.

The question I have to ask myself then is, what matters to me most? Is the need to fit in with the majority serving my calling? If not, what do I need to adjust?

As humans, we are made for connectedness to survive. The need for acceptance is in all of us. The issue comes when we deny our truth to follow the crowd. At some point, we have to be willing to turn our back against the majority and follow the voice of reason within.

I have found that the more I allow myself to stand out as my authentic self by following my values and beliefs, the more I become accepting of others to do the same.

And just like the chameleon needs camouflage for survival, humans need to stand in their truth to find a lasting connection.

About Shiko Kariuki

Shiko Kariuki grew up in a small country town in Kenya and relocated to Australia to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing. After graduating from her studies, Shiko saw the gap in underrepresentation for women of colour. In order to share her story and make an impact, she pursued Miss Africa Perth, using the platform to advocate for African youth by championing community events and charity fundraisers. In 2019, Shiko was crowned Ms. Galaxy Australia 2019, a title which saw her competing in the U.S. and becoming 3rd runner up on the Galaxy international platform. She has used the platform to run quarterly confidence workshops for teenage girls from culturally diverse backgrounds in her quest for women's empowerment. Shiko blogs about her life experiences and culture. When not working as a registered nurse in the mental health sector, you will find her planning her next adventure in a bid to satisfy her wanderlust.

2 thoughts on “Blending in

  • Elaine Fraser

    Great post, Shiko.

    Your last line is such a great truth: And just like the chameleon needs camouflage for survival, humans need to stand in their truth to find a lasting connection.

    You stand out in a great way in what you do. I love your confidence and the encouragement you provide to others. ?????

  • Tatiana Bogachenko

    What an apt metaphor! Would be so interesting to see a chameleon in real life ? To hide and camouflage is our natural response to challenge, we run back to safety. But if we take courage to step out into the unknown, we get a chance to discover who we are, to follow our dreams, and to make a difference in this world. Thank you for the post, Shiko ❤

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