I was different. I’d always been described that way. Someone would tell me: ‘you want too much from life. Be content with what you have,’ and, more than once, I heard: ‘you’re a woman. Leave men’s work to the men’.

I do not think I am so different. Well, not different to me, but different from the society I was born in. Moldova is a country of prejudice and stereotypes. Things are changing slowly, are not as prominent but still persist.

Why were I not content with the way things were? Why didn’t I just slip into the groove, like a needle on a record player, and join in the song that everyone else was singing – the song they’d always sung?
I don’t know. I can’t point to any single event that made me question the way things were, or why I thought things should be or could be better. It was just a feeling. A feeling that, in time, became an irresistible conviction. And it’s following that conviction that – for better or worse – has made me what I am today, either ‘inspirational’, or ‘mad’, depending on whom you ask.

I am a great believer that you can change, and I am working hard to change the habits I do not like, to improve the skills or learn new ones. But what I am ready to change is things on my list, or suggested from close up people I trust and look up to. But why should we try to change ourselves just to fit in when everyone has a personal path to follow. We all can contribute to this world just the way we are. The way we want to be.

Improve, learn, change but only what you would like to – not whatever the crowd thinks you should.
Do not fit in – you were born to stand out!