When I was in junior in high school, a classmate from French class made a comment to me out of the blue. She said, “Brittany, I can see you running for student government. You should do it.”
Elections were coming up so the suggestion was apropos, but the idea that I could do something important (or as important as high school government could be 🙂 and be a part of a group that I had no experience with or comfort in, was new to me. I mean, I always had passing thoughts about being involved in something greater but I never had the confidence to seriously try it. I was rather shy and quiet (at least to those who didn’t know me) in high school and didn’t branch out from my tennis friends and my church friends.
(I couldn’t find any high school photos right off so here’s one of me in my Canadian tuxedo from 2nd grade–fills the same need).
Her comment made me rethink…”why DON’T I run for student government?” If she can see me in the role, why don’t I?!”. So you know what I did? I ran and I made it! I became the Commissioner of Publicity my senior year of high school.
It wasn’t a ginormous role. Basically, I was in charge of publicizing school events and activities, which makes a lot of sense now given my current job. I always had the knack I guess–I just didn’t know it until I did it. I made a lot of posters and banners (in fact, my high school prom date asked me to prom with a sign that said “to the cutie who makes all the signs, this one is for you. Will you go to prom with me?” I’m still blushing ;).
The power of suggestion
It wasn’t until years later that I realized the power of that simple suggestion from my classmate. To be honest, she didn’t know me very well so I’m not quite sure how she came up with the idea, but to have someone think of me in that way and encourage me was life changing. Words matter.
Yesterday, Kamala Harris, was sworn into the office of Vice President. It’s historic for many reasons–She’s a) the first Black b) the first South Asian c) the first woman to take on one of the highest-ranking roles in our nation. You might recall that when she was first elected she famously said “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” I guarantee that women across the world heard that and committed themselves to become something more or something they may not have ever thought they could become.
We’ve all heard the historic nature of our new presidency so why does this craft blogger and mom of a 4 week old with little time to write an essay let alone shower, feel the need to reiterate it? Because the more involved I am in social media, the more I see that we haven’t all heard it! Or at least we don’t all believe it! When you hear messages that YOU can do great things and then SEE it in action, well, that changes your perspective and goals.
You are what you see
I recently wrote about my mother who grew up dancing ballet, attended the School of American Ballet and then went on to dance in the New York City Ballet and do other very cool things (you can read more about it here). Seeing the many press clippings and photos of her as I was growing up, and whether I was aware of it or not, taught me that I, too, can do cool things. I set my sights on goals I may not have had otherwise and I’ve been slowly trying to accomplish them. I feel lucky to have seen potential from an early age.
Sadly, great examples are not always found within our own families, which is why seeing people who look like you taking on challenging roles is crucial–“hey, if they can do it…maybe I can too!” This bold notion changes your narrative.
Now, whether you share the same politics or not and hopefully that doesn’t matter to you, we have a woman of color in one of the highest offices and that is important for all of us because women and girls and boys…everyone…from around the world see it and know that they, too, can become great things. Along the way, the diversity of our backgrounds creates a more unified playing ground where we can ALL thrive in a healthy, thriving way.
Here’s to a unified and “more perfect” America!
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