I am sitting in the Prague airport, after yet another international conference and training. I am sitting here, and while drinking my coffee and water I feel privilege yet somewhat sad. I have one hell of a ride this year, 2018 has been busy and filled with laughs, tears, fears and challenges. I am known as Vee, the forensics girl that sat down in an MsC class not knowing how to use Linux. Yes, that surely was me I was that forensics person. I, however, loved learning new skills and being forever curious.
This was three years ago. Today I am known as P01z0n_P1x13 a name given to me by the Wizard, and yes he will know who he is. He is my security mentor the person who saw the potential in me when I could not see it at all. It has been turbulent but after three years my Thesis is nearly done. Then there is my mentor in forensics the Paladin in my life it has been 12 years of high pressure. Well, my journey in Prague ended with winning a Lethal Forensicator challenge and presenting at a SANS EMEA event. Then there are the mentors who are too many to name the Hackers, the cracker, the black hats and the white hats and those who do not wear hats.
I have been blessed in a way that most women cannot say, I have had the support of mentors and friends. I am by no form rich in finances, however, if I had to count my riches in terms of support, love and friends and family I am ridiculously rich. I have people in my corner that backs me and supports me. Picks me up when the Imposter Syndrome strikes and pulls me down. They kick me in the ass and sometimes just give me some coffee or tequila. But they have always been there they have been family.
My first Defcon was this year, and I will not lie and say I was not scared. I was absolutely terrified. After a talk at ITWeb in South Africa, an intervention of sorts was held and my bat cave was barricaded and myself kicked out. I was told to take the plunge and keep submitting talks to conferences and learn to face the rejection and grow and get better. I was anticipating rejection even fearing it. To my surprise, two talks were accepted. I was on a complete high, yet the imposter’s voice came up to tell me that I was not good enough. I also got the amazing opportunity to work at both Black Hat and Goon at Defcon. I again gained family, to the members of the SOC Goon teams I gave grief you guys are awesome and I love you and miss you.
I also got welcomed into the SANS EMEA family, I got to meet two idols whom I have looked up to in Forensics. I got to meet Alyssa Torres and Jesse Garcia and the team from Magnet Security. Again my family expanded. I have learnt that even though I get peopled out I cannot do this without my family and my support system. This is important in the tech fields. I have family that sees when I cannot, they speak when I have no words, they guide me when I am lost and most importantly they pick me up when I fall.
The saying goes to find your tribe and love them hard. Well to my tribe I discovered this year some new and some old I love you all hard. I appreciate you all and cherish you. Yes, we might not like each other sometimes but we do care and that means we support.