This past week was a challenging one. It definitely got me thinking.
It got me thinking because something happened where I was discouraged from bringing my whole self to my work environment.
When I entered the work force post grad school, there was this known practice… There was my “work self” and then there was my “personal self”. And while they were often present at the same time, I had a huge knob to dial up one side or the other depending on the situation, who I was around, etc. And as I moved to different organizations in my career, the need to be ONE or the OTHER was part of the recipe for success – in terms of moving up the ladder.
Social media has changed the game for me, and I imagine a lot of other people as well. It has meant that the worlds have been colliding more than ever in recent years. My FB account used to be sacred for friends only, and now there are a few of my business contacts on there. And Instagram? I now have colleagues following me. How should I view this? As a great way to narrow the gap between worlds? To feel more comfortable brining my whole self to work, or to have more cause for caution? The greater movement happening now I think, is in shrinking this gap – and my view is because the younger generation just doesn’t want to deal with the bullshit (thank you!!).
In the past few years, I have felt more and more comfortable with meshing these two worlds. Not only because of social media dynamics, but also because I have become more comfortable in my own skin and allowing myself to be slightly more vulnerable. Perhaps most importantly because I have started to understand my value beyond my job, and have been exploring my purpose in a more meaningful way.
This purpose involves helping other women and people in general, who are marginalized or discriminated against in some way. This purpose involves helping pass along tools and tips from experience and from things I have read and advocating for those who need a voice and allies.
And so, when this week I was asked to sweep a part of myself that I am very passionate about under the rug – I was mortified. It felt like I was experiencing a dramatic climax in a Game of Thrones episode. HOW DARE THEY?! A dagger to the heart from someone you thought was on your side!
I did some investigating after this – bot internally, within myself, and externally to some folks that I highly regard and trust.
And in the past week I have realized that the silent undercurrent of what’s been happening in America for a very long time, simply reared it’s ugly head in a not so subtle way. It also wasn’t personal – it wasn’t the least bit about me.
One of my dear friends reminded me of something; At least I can see the truth right in front of me, and know what I’m dealing with. Ahhh, so true – the value in true intentions being revealed.
With this, the fight doesn’t stop. My purpose lives on. The battle wages on and I play harder and smarter. But I do not cower. I do not lay low. I gain strength. I call upon my dragons. I build a stronger resistance. I focus on the bigger picture. I pick my moments. Or else, THEY WIN.
This quote came into my life this week, and damn was it spot on. My 38th birthday is in 6 weeks. And I say this not to compare my journey with this incredible man, but to acknowledge that I must not move forward in fear – only in courage to live, and never stop seeking, my truth.
“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
So, whatever your crusade, whatever your obstacles. Keep on going. If it weren’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth it.