Saturday, June 15, 2013

When It Rains It Surely Pours...Thoughts on SHE Summit, Same Sky and The Athena Phenomenon- Part 1

I had been depressed for a while now. It comes in bursts after a period of latency, crowding out my innovative, get-up-and-do spirit, and making it that much harder to feel effective and inspired to get out of whatever funk I found myself in. It's not like I forgot my Happy Black Woman challenge, it's just a culmination of long work hours at this new job (which has been rich combination of experiences challenges met and ideas fostered) and pressures from my mother (bless her, really!) to keep looking for The Job Opening that would really launch my career.

Let me just say that for a while after graduating from NYU, I really was gunning for a career that matched my thesis study, something in the international development, sustainable human rights work, etc. realm. I still am very much interested in working on those issues, and including the equally important environmental, immigration, civic duty and community activism tracks. My problem has always been that I didn't know how to find the career guidance and support I so craved. I grew up with two dichotomies that I still find myself on the odd sides of, depending on my hormone cycle:
1- Ask and ye shall receive (whether this was ask God, ask a friend, ask the various relatives that my mother did or did not have good terms with (at the wrong intervals, it seemed to me. whole other blog topic, that one...)).
2- Don't be so needy, research and find your own way, be independent and innovative.

Both of these in their own ways are noble and commendable mandates, but they get confusing and overwhelming when one considers one's upbringing, current financial state and personal anxiety/depression issues/agnostic issues.

I wanted (and still want) to do everything! I want to tackle why New York City youth are bombarded by the seduction of spending, without the focused and dedicated tutelage from our various school systems on the subject of responsible personal finance. In fact, let's start teaching them in the 5th grade, and not wait for high school impulsive hormones to cloud their judgments.

I want to seek out and engage the people that are helping bring the immense problem of sex trafficking women and girls in this city as well as globally (especially in my home region of Latin America and the Caribbean). This problem alone is undercutting the next generation of women via economic devaluation, plain old abuse and psychological as well as sexual slavery. Where will our leaders come from and to whom will they speak if they still feel their (and their subject audience's) value stems from which man "protects" her? If she still feels that her voice holds no water weight unless a champion steps forth from among the lions in the same vicious arena of spectators?

My mind races now, trying to get these sentiments out, but sometimes it paralyzes me with the sheer enormity of how many issues there are to be solved in this world, in this city! Which one do I pick up and champion? how do I get involved in a meaningful, not to overwhelming, and possibly life-uplifting way? When I say life-uplifting, in this case, I am talking about the dedication of putting long hours into a project/career/job that supports me coming out of my own personal debt, being able to pay all of my bills every month instead of robbing my own bank accounts; the ability to stop stressing about providing for my mother and sisters; the courage to take challenges wherever in the world knowing that my value is beyond how much income I can generate for a company, like a highly educated milk cow.

Enter one dispirited afternoon of reading emails. Every so often, I see what LivingSocial is offering the public. Sure, a vacation to St. Petersburg is on my list, but when I saw the words SHE Summit, I was really intrigued. I had never heard of Claudia Chan and her organization, but I do know a good deal when I see it. I immediately signed up to attend this women-focused conference, and jumped on the opportunity that it offered for me to volunteer with registration and setup.

I swear, volunteering has been changing my life in the past year in more ways than I can really attribute, and I am determined to find a way into My Career through continued service to my community. I decided that I would take Friday off of work and take the 7am to 2pm registration desk shift. I didn't leave until about 7:30pm; how ambition really drives the eager soul, sometimes! I did get to speak with some amazing and inspiring co-volunteers and sponsors, exchange some emails and business cards and even dole out some of my own wisdom and insights to fellow women.

This morning I jumped out of bed at 5:41 and have been excited about going to the conference today as an attendee. I was tweeting and taking picture to upload to Facebook and I truly have a renewed spirit to take on The Issues At Hand. I think I have even beat this confounded writer's block!

Stay tuned for round two!

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