Own Your Story: A Conversation between Good Girlfriends
By: Carmen Mays, LinkedIn and Twitter
Look sis, you’re just going have to push through! The reality is there are plenty of folks that are not on board with #13Percent.
But you want to know what’s really messed up? No matter how awesome you are, and trust me YOU ARE, their opinion won’t change. So again, sis, you’re just going have to push through!
It is noble and necessary to fight for gender equality. There has been some improvement but we have a ways to go. Here are five things you can do while we journey towards equitable representation.
Girl, don’t worry about it. Go forth and live the life of your dreams! Now I’m not saying be indifferent towards discrimination, I’m saying you have to stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize. You won’t be successful if all you think about are the barriers nor will you have any energy when it’s time to confront them. Don’t let it get you down. Don’t let them see you sweat.
You better come through with knowledge, with the skills, with the ability. You need to drop the mic at least twice a week. Participate in professional development opportunities so you’re always growing and staying competitive. Strategize and develop a plan, a list of goals or some other metric so you can hold yourself accountable and stave off complacency. Only work on things that contribute to those goals. Your time and talents are valuable and exclusive, don’t dilute them. Leave no doubts about your competence because you know it’ll be brought up.
Nobody makes it out here alone. And if we’re going to turn the tide for justice, we’ll need all our sisters and brothers with us. You should not be the first and last to walk through a door previously unopened. Do not be threatened by the young and eager. Teach them. Encourage them. Include them. Do not grow weary with veteran practitioners. Teach them. Encourage them. Include them. In all that you do, make sure it counts toward the good. And when it’s your sister’s time to shine, amplify it. After all, no one on the corner has swagger like us.
Your experiences are valid and true. If asked, hell even if you aren’t, tell people about your journey. Own your story. Because as Zora said, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” You are here, in these spaces at such a time as this to speak the truth. Paint the complete picture. It’s not as bad as it has been but it isn’t as good as it gets. And sometimes outcomes have nothing to do with your gender. Your honesty sheds light on the path we must forge ahead and prepares those that will come along. Your honesty also speaks to the progress. We can’t be so caught up in the struggle that we don’t recognize how far we’ve come. There’s nothing wrong with a “I’m not where I wanna be but thank God I’m not where I used to be!” party. I’ll bring the wine.
Nawl baby don’t, don’t you change your hair for me! There will be times that you’ll feel pressure to be less than authentic. While there is some adaptation necessary to be successful in organizations don’t leave yourself in the car. You are far too dynamic not to bring your full self to the job. All of your knowledge, personality, creativity and experiences contribute to the diversity that is so desperately needed in our field. We don’t need just your female body to move beyond #13Percent. We need you. All of you. And don’t worry about the haters. As long as you love you like Kanye loves Kanye, you’ll be fine!
Whether you are the rose that grew from the concrete or the lily in waiting, you have to bloom where you’re planted. A solid hustle cannot be denied. And if we’re all doing these things then we’ll be at equitable representation before we know it. You see I’m not victim blaming. I’m talking preparation. Because if you stay ready, you never have to get ready. Undoubtedly, the doors will open and shame on us if we’re not ready to #PushThru.