Why I need this...

I have so many ideas that I feel passionately about that I sometimes feel my head and heart are going to explode. I know you feel the same way. I've spoken to you, sometimes in long trains of emails or over coffee or for hours over the phone. I've seen you dance, heard you sing, watched with pride as you've stood up in front of people to pursue your dreams. I've visited your websites, helped to revise your works in progress, discussed the hopes, dreams, frustrations and challenges of your one or several jobs. I've been your collaborator, your classmate, adviser, mentee, co-conspirator, biggest fan, and friend. I know that you are also a dreamer and that you have invaluable insights, ideas and gifts to share. We just need a place for all of that sharing to happen.

I know we have Facebook, Twitter, and innumerable websites and blogs already, in addition to the basic email and those old things called telephones and letters, BUT that's how I communicate with you individually or in small groups already. And those communications are a mixed bag of various topics, not just about our roles and aspirations as social change agents. I need a DEDICATED SPACE. I need a way for you all to know and share with each other. I need a place where I can share my ideas and take risks knowing that I will receive honest and thoughtful feedback and support. Know what I mean?

Too often we wait till we've reached some unrealistic standard before feeling comfortable enough to make our voices heard and share an idea with folks beyond our personal network. As Alexa Clay & Jon Camfield write in their article, 'To Succeed, Women and Minorities Need to be Able to Fail,' women and minorities often feel pressure to be professional and 'perfect' and therefore miss out on the necessary steps of taking risks and bouncing back from failures to succeed in the long run. Alexa writes:

That night, we both confessed how our biggest obstacle to success was perfectionism: the need to wait for the perfect conditions or the perfect idea or venture before we shared it with people. In this way, we often failed to build communities of support. It was a conversation--a moment--that has since allowed me to share early and often. I learned that in sharing and being open about where you are headed, you actually increase the odds of getting there by enrolling the support of others. In this way, embracing uncertainty and problem solving around uncertainty with others from the beginning rather than waiting until you’ve ruled it out is a necessary component of risk-taking.
I think this is doubly true for black women. Of course we have a growing number of amazing role models, but where are the works in progress? Where is the lab setting where we can just be ourselves, experiment and share without the pressure of having to seem polished and on top of everything? I for one would love such a forum.

No comments: