Notes to self: Thoughts on personal growth, gender roles & more!
I’ve been thinking long and hard about gender and diversity for many many years now. And my thoughts on the subject have changed, morphed, possibly evolved to a place more in sync with who I am right now. I’ve fought, I’ve shouted, I’ve begged, I’ve grit my teeth and punched at problems 100 times harder than my privileged peers just to prove that I belong, that I deserve, that I can break any semblance of a glass anyone puts in between me and my goals.
Today, though, today looks different. I’m quiet. I’m resilient. I’m trying to tune my antenna into finding myself. I’m trying to tune into me, now. Not the me that’s always a million steps ahead of where I actually am, not the me who is always so disappointed with me today, not the me who obsesses about the past that could have been, the denied opportunities, the blatant discrimination, the endless possibilities that could have made who I am now, a little lighter than I actually feel right now.
Today, I’m tuned into me, trying hard to find the energy for more. And I realise that this quest for more, has always been such a trap. We’re told we’re born multitaskers. We’re told fabulous home makers can also be wonderful leaders at work. We’re told we were meant to juggle a thousand things and come out looking like a size 0 model at the same time. I realise the thread through all of this, is the commentary about how I can go anywhere I want, as long as I don’t leave behind anything I’m supposed to be doing already. I can be a Pinterest mom, as long as I wear heels to work and have a picture of me carrying my toddler in those heels and looking like a million bucks. The quest for more is a trap.
“Step back when they push you & watch them fall”, said my mentor, recently. Another one, a whole decade ago when I came back from my 6 week maternity leave, said “Sprint when you can, run a marathon at other times, walk by the beach when you’re tired and fill yourself with all the energy you can breathe in. Don’t keep cycling through different types of sprints”. More is a trap. Don’t lean in to the pressure, lean out, they said.
I’m taking these lessons in, today, as I think back about the journey I’ve had. This quest for more traps me. There’s no end to it. There’s no levelling the playing field. The goalpost just keeps moving. There’s no actual glass waiting to be shattered. There’s just your own journey, where you demand, create & nurture a space that reflects you and the right to do what you want to, and to keep getting better at it with focus, resilience and the refusal to back down or leave. There’s no table to ask for a seat at, there’s only the table you will create yourself and fill it with the people you want. There’s generations of shoulders to stand high on and strategy playbooks to pour over.
There’s a silly place in my head that says resilience is just like recurring revenue, you show up and stay and watch the impact compound. This year, instead of putting all my energy into more, I’m putting all my energy into digging my heels in, into staying focused, disciplined and watching me compound. This year, I’ll stop trying to make a 100 different ‘mini-me’s that juggle it all. This year I’ll dig deep inside to find the one person who’s going to take me to the end.