Today is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is a a chance to honor women for their accomplishments I am usually pretty vocal about not celebrating these one day holidays, preferring to celebrate and respect topics every day of the year, but this year, I am embracing the day, also known in Italy as Festa Della Donna (the holiday of the woman). In Italy, men present a bouquet or sprig of mimosa flowers to women on this day as a sign of respect. Here, today, I am using this day as my launch pad, a celebration of past accomplishments and a focus on the future.
You see, the power of a day like this is that we are reminded that we have a voice. And that our voice matters. And this year, for the first time, I feel like I have really started to use my voice, for good. From my Bloggers4Haiti trip where I used my voice to share the beauty of Haiti, to my new role with the American Cancer Society as a member of their Blogger Advisory Council, to the thrilling news that I will be a member of the DC Listen To Your Mother cast, I feel like I have finally found ways to share my voice.
This is not a “look at me and all the amazing things I have done” post. This is about the fact that we each have a voice, and it is our responsibility to use it- wisely and with compassion.
So it is with excitement (and a small does of trepidation) that I share the news that makes this day and this idea of sharing our voices even more special. (insert drum roll)
As of the end of this June…..I will be self employed. As in a work at home mom. As in, a full time blogger, writer, freelancer doing who knows what. As in…I will not be returning to the classroom next September.
I have no illusions. I know that making a “go” of this new life will not be easy. I know that there are many voices out there, each wanting to be heard. But the more I thought about my life, my career, my role as a mom, I knew that this was the time.
A time where I can focus on advocacy, for social good and for education. A time where I can flex my wings and put myself out there, WAY past my comfort zone, to see what can happen as a writer and freelancer. A time where I can use my expertise as an educational leader in a new way in the social media space. A time that I can use to volunteer in Principessa’s classroom and join her for lunch every so often. A time to make the most of this life, in the here and in the now.
The truth is that I have been inspired this year. By women who use their voice in ways that I never thought possible. Women that I consider to be friends and mentors. Women who visualize what their dream looks like, and work tirelessly to make that dream a reality.
It is going to be a long journey. One that I expect will have highs and lows. I will go out on a limb to try new things. I will make mistakes. But I will try. I will learn from the mavens that have inspired me, and will stay true to my belief that I am a member of a larger community that succeeds because of collaboration and cooperation instead of competition.
I will go to conferences with a new purpose, to make connections and to deepen relationships. I will be forced to think creatively and will likely be met with more closed doors than open ones. I will make decisions with a different perspective, keeping in mind the big picture. I will work to find a balance to make a living and still enjoy what I am doing.
This will be MY time. My time to create a space for the voice that I have been cultivating. My time to find ways to inspire, empower, and foster self sufficiency in others not from my perch as a teacher, but as a voice that believes in the collective power that comes from the voices of many.