So, its the last day of the semester and I am so excited because I made it. I didn't give up and I think I know what I am I talking about.
Three things I learned about myself this semester....
1. That I have the power to change the discourse of any issue.
As women this is very important because although I have spent my life advocating and organizing on reproductive justice and violence against women I never though of myself as changing the public discourse of those issues. Sometimes advocates don't see change outside of the individual impact.
2. That as a leader I play small.
Taking on a social justice issue "grand challenge" like ending gender based violence requires a leader who thinks outside the box all the time. I have worked in grassroots organizing for such a long time that I my dreams became as big as the victims and survivors I work with let me and given their experience of violence its not that big.
3. My history as a victim and survivor show up mostly when I become a student in academia.
The minute I become a student all the negative narratives formed by my experience with child hood violence, domestic violence and sexual assault show up to sabatoge me. This first semester I battled more myself and the scared little girl in me than the actual school work. My emotions took me from I don't belong in this school, to my experience and work over the last 20 years is not enough for this school. I broke out in anxiety, depression, I wanted to leave the school and then my brain left the building and all of a sudden I didn't know why I wanted to get a PhD or why I had fought all my life to end violence against women and girls.
Grounding in these lessons of myself will support me in gearing up and putting things in place to really be self expressed an show up for the upcoming semesters. As an individual I am more connected to ways that violence and trauma have impacted me that I didn't even know. Knowing them now will give me time to heal over the holidays and learn some tools and practices that I can use next semester so that when my inner voice shows up I can manage it and myself.
As an activist and organizer learning that I have the power to change public discourse has me dreaming about taking my grand challenge globally but not on a grassroots level but a policy UN level.
As a radical social worker, its time to understand the power we have in shaping the world. When we let our own trauma, biases, stereotypes, and prejudices block how we dream of another world for ourselves and people then those in the most vulnerbale communities have already lost.
Here is a toast to healing, dreaming and leading. May 2018 be miraculous!
Happy Holidays 2017