I am the founder and vice-president of ANA. Yes, it’s my business, but sometimes I find it hard to tell people because I don’t feel like I’m a businesswoman at heart. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship by starting my own business, but it feels like I still have a lot more to learn. I feel like I’m constantly learning new things about businesses, and about myself. It’s very formative, and I can see myself growing day by day.

I deal well with the fact that I own a business, but sometimes I find it hard to tell other people, because it means I have to explain where the idea for it came from. I am generally open to talking about my situation, my surgery and what it entails. What I mean is that if people don’t ask me about it, then I don’t talk about it. If they’re curious and ask me questions, however, I answer them. It’s important to me because it’s a part of me, and because there’s still a lot of work left to do to make society aware of inflammatory bowel diseases and ostomy. What I find hard is meeting guys or new people and having to answer this one question: “What do you do for a living”?

I am currently completing my studies to become a chartered accountant, I am working as an auditor in an accounting firm and I also own a business where I share my story and model their underwear.

I am extremely proud of who I am and what I do, but truth is, when I meet someone new, I usually say that I’m a student and that I work in an accounting firm. It always feels like I’m hiding a huge part of what I’m doing, but people seem to find that my answer is adequate and satisfying.

You may wonder why I am hiding this when I am open enough to talk about it here, and when I am proud of my accomplishments. It’s only because I want others to know me a bit more before I tell them where the idea to start ANA came from. Sometimes I just want to wait until I feel comfortable enough to talk about it. I want to feel like the person in front of me is actually interested in knowing more about it, and understanding what it all means to me.

When I started ANA, I decided to put myself in the public eye and help others who are going through similar things to what I experienced. But sometimes, I want to be this discreet person who blends in. After all, this is a luxury we can afford, thanks to that little pouch hiding underneath our clothes! After all, people in front of us can’t see it.

I am an entrepreneur and an ostomate, but this isn’t what defines me as a person. It doesn’t define my personality, my interests and my dreams. I’d never advise you to lie on who you are, but I think that when you meet someone new, you have the privilege of making them learn who you are at your own pace.

Tell others you are an ostomate as soon as possible if it makes you feel more comfortable. Take advantage of the opportunities that arise during conversations to mention it. Listen to yourself if you don’t feel ready to talk about it, and dare follow your inner voice when it to keep going!


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