Presentation is Perception

Standard

Throughout my young lifetime, I’ve learned that you should present yourself how you would like to be perceived. Age, race, gender, and any other factor are virtually irrelevant as long as you make them so. A woman can be a competitive athlete if she trains and performs like one. A Black man can be an educated professional if he has the credentials and acts accordingly. A teenager can be a business man if he works and conducts business like a legitimate entrepreneur. There should be no limitations to how a person is treated unless those limitations are self-enforced. However, I don’t know if many other people from my generation understand the true power they have over their lives. It is as if people would rather shoot themselves in the foot before persuading people to see who they truly are, or at least who they could be.

My brother is an entrepreneur at the age of 24. When he was talking to his mentor about his business a few years ago, my brother told his mentor that he was worried about other professionals not treating him as such. His mentor’s response was “If you act like a business man, then they’ll treat you like a business man.” Ever since that conversation, those have become words that my brother and I live by.

Since then, I have worked hard to eliminate the limitations that I believe people are trying to place on me whether it has to do with my age, gender, or nationality. These restrictions have no power unless I give them that power and I am proud to say, within the past few years, that power has been diminishing. People have begun to perceive me how I want them to because that is how I present myself. Intelligent, independent, hard-working, talented, and driven are some of the ways that people have described me given the way I’ve presented myself. However, it seems like not everyone realizes the power they have over their lives.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed one too many times when a person dissolves their opportunities through lack of professionalism, lack of grace to rejection, lack of preparation, and so many other scenarios. But these flaws that you yourself present to the world are what people will remember you by. They’ll say “she’s so beautiful, but her attitude is horrible” or “he’s so talented, but the profanity he uses is something I don’t want to be associated with.” So make sure people remember you how you want to be perceived by presenting yourself how you want to be seen.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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