Tagged: self-reflect

Pride 2015: Steps Forward, Miles to Go

Over the past several years, states opposing same-sex marriage have fallen like dominoes. One by one, states across the country erupted in celebration as state courts struck down the bans. However, there have been some hold-outs (Here’s looking at you, Ohio). On Friday morning, the United States Supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states.

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Image courtesy of ABC Australia

Other countries recently celebrated victories for the LGBTQ community. Last month, Ireland held a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage; citizens turned out in droves to cast their votes. In Mozambique, the government struck down laws that criminalized homosexuality. While the country’s sole gay rights group, Lambda, views the ruling as a victory, there is little faith that it will make a tangible impact on daily life for LGBTQ people.

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Image courtesy of International Business Times

But for every celebratory parade, reminders of the work that remains reared their heads. In Istanbul, Turkey, riot police broke up pride parades with tear gas and rubber bullets. The government declared that the LGBTQ community did not have permission to hold the parade, an event that has occurred on the same weekend in June for the past 13 years, because it coincides with the holy month of Ramadan.

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Image courtesy of Mashable

While people across the United States used Facebook’s rainbow profile picture feature, many in Russia and countries across the Middle East were not amused. Russia recently passed staunch anti-gay laws, forcing people with the means to do so to seek asylum. According to a recent poll, 80% of Russians oppose gay marriage; in response to the Facebook rainbow, some Russians overlaid national flags on their pictures and tagged them with the hashtag #ProudToBeRussian.

Although same sex-marriage is now legal in the United States, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender remains poorly defined and policed. Same-sex couples can be denied housing and jobs based on a landlord’s or hiring manager’s own preference. In 2014, California banned the “gay panic defense,” but other states consider it an acceptable excuse for unwarranted violence against LGBTQ people. The very fact that these defenses gain traction illustrates how, in parts of the country, members of the LGBTQ community must still fight for their right to live. So while this landmark victory deserves celebration, let’s not forget that there’s still much work to do.

Respect + Reflect: MLK Day

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We would be remiss to let the great Doctor’s birthday weekend pass without acknowledgement. If you have the day off, pay it forward with a day of service in your community. If you have to work, I suggest listening to Spotify’s compilation of his speeches. Pop in some headphones and let his words reverberate through your very soul. His powerful oration serves as a palpable reminder that we can, should and must do better.

Good News Goal Setting

In keeping with our theme of goal setting, I feel as though it’s also important to revisit one’s sense of purpose at the start of the new year. Last week, my brilliant sister, Erin, sent me a New York Times article that perfectly encapsulates my Lady Collective goals for 2015.

In “News We Need to Hear,” columnist David Bornstein reflects on the five years he’s spent writing Fixes, an op-ed column whose self-described mission is to “look at solutions to social problems and why they work.” Like anyone taking stock of 2014’s major news events, the prognosis is grim. Between ISIS, the Ebola crisis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the series of non-indictments in United States police killings, there were plenty of problems in need of solutions. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, if the problem of the day doesn’t call you to action, wait a day; another will replace it.

Yet in light of these overarching issues, Bornstein argues that it is equally important to report on efforts currently addressing the problem. What measures are already in place to combat this issues and how effective are they? In a country as big as the United States, there is no one size fits all solution to problems like high school dropout rates or health care access. Yet, as Bornstein says, “the problems scream but the solutions whisper;” bad news frequently takes precedent over good news. By shining the spotlight exclusively on bad news, this “social norming” shapes peoples’ beliefs to make them think certain problems are impossible to solve.

Instead, Bornstein suggests, journalists need to dig deeper to uncover what is already being done to combat the problem. He explains:

The classic journalistic instinct is to focus on the worst actors — and investigate and expose them. But to the extent that anybody knows how to solve the problem, the knowledge is going to be in the schools doing best: the positive deviants, the schools we rarely cover, except perhaps as seasonal fare during the holidays. The question is not just: What are these schools achieving? But also: How are they doing it? It’s an important distinction. Every cub reporter has been taught to ask the 5 W’s — who, what, when, where and why. But it’s the overlooked H — the how — that can unearth the information society needs to do better.

I could not agree more with Bornstein’s stance. It’s not to say that one should only consume good news; that level of naiveté is neither possible, practical, nor productive. But what if after reading a piece of bad news, we sought out existing solutions? Reading about how other people tackle complex issues could kickstart our own thought processes about new solutions or inspire us to apply existing methods to the issue in our own communities. This year, I hope to highlight these types of prototyped solutions alongside our critiques of social problems. As media creators and consumers, we owe it to each other to share tools that chip away at complex issues. Exchanging ideas creates a silver lining of hope that can snowball into some far bigger than the initial seed; let’s get planting.

Stay Gold, 2015

With my birthday looming large on Friday, I’m in a reflective mood. It feels like a perfect time to follow through and post my promised new year’s resolutions.  Some of them are pretty big, like run two marathons while others require daily maintenance, like my goal to stop being a flake. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to speak these dreams into being because now, with you as my audience holding me accountable, I have to follow through on them. Looking at them all at once can feel a bit intimidating, but I need to remember that I have 365 days to complete them. See anything that you want to copy? Have any other ideas you want to speak into being? Leave them in the comments and let’s get focused!

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Physical: run the LA Marathon; run the Chicago Marathon

Mental: practice Spanish daily; schedule quiet alone time weekly

Fiscal: make a monthly donation to causes I support (because if I can buy a bottle of wine, I can afford to contribute to things that matter); put part of every paycheck into savings

Spiritual: meditate daily, journal daily

Romantic relationship: plan a weekly date; plan a weekend getaway

Family and friendships: send monthly emails to folks far away; follow through on all communications by the end of the day that I receive them

Comfort Zone: attend a Lady Boss/Levo League event once a quarter (more on this later); volunteer with Girls on the Run/New York Road Runners youth programs

Reflect Zone

Between now and January 1, we’re going to keep it low key at LC. People are traveling, partying, and generally running out the clock on 2015. While we’ve got some excellent Schoolin’ Life participants in the queue and plenty of topics to discuss, I want to give them the attention they deserve. While the Dames of the Day will continue and I may post a note or video here and there, we’ll come back in full effect after the New Year.

Until then, put some thought into what you want next year to be like. I know we’ve reflected on 2014, but now is the time to really break down 2015. What kind of goals do you have for your social life? For physical activity? For your emotional health? And what are you going to do to help others? I haven’t committed mine to paper but my rough outline includes:

  • run the L.A. marathon (and perhaps Chicago, if it pans out)
  • attend at least four weddings of dear family and friends
  • plan a vacation with Hotswag (even if it’s just camping down at Floyd Bennett field)
  • volunteer for the Girls on the Run 5k
  • attend three mentoring events with Lady Boss and Levo League
  • practice my Spanish daily (via Duolingo, an excellent and free tool)
  • budget 15 minutes of quiet alone time per day

Now that they’re out in the universe, I have to hold myself accountable; let’s get it going! Each month, I’ll try to post a reminder to circle back to the list and see where we’re at; like most people, the thought of adding anything new to my already jam-packed schedule feels daunting, but if I spend a little less time on the interwebs and convert it to focus time, I think it’s possible.

It’s time for me to peel pounds and pounds of potatoes, so I leave you with my 2014 playlist. Throughout the year, I’ve collected songs that appealed to me into one disjointed and eclectic mix. Take a listen and let me know if I’ve slept on any tracks. Time to gear up and get focused for a new year!

2014 in Review: Part II

In case you couldn’t guess from last week’s post, I love the list making process of New Year’s resolutions. I relish the opportunity to reflect on the past year, find joy in the positive moments, and point out the aspects of my life I want to change. Over the years, I’ve gotten good at it, too: make your goals specific, find ways to chip away at them every day, check on your progress periodically. For me, 2014 is a rough year to rehash.

If I had to sum up this year in one emotion, it would be anger. On a personal level, I experienced a lot of career uncertainty as layoffs loomed and colleagues came and went. I watched the women in my inner circle struggle with personal battles and felt powerless to protect them from that pain. Former classmates of mine left this world far too soon; no one should leave this world in their 20s. While we were no longer close, the shocking news reminded me of how short life is and how senseless death can be. I started thinking more about my place in the world, the impact I currently make, and how I can extend that reach.

And on the most personal level of all, I fought a battle within myself: I was depressed. For the better part of this year, I found myself in a hole too deep to see out of, when I lost faith in myself and my abilities, when I essentially gave up on myself. I stopped running; I cut people off; I ceased doing anything but commuting and going to work. I think it was difficult to admit to myself how terrible I felt because I hold myself to such a high standard; I disappointed myself by not being able to “snap out of it,” for wasting so much time lying on the floor all Saturday, for feeling my anxious thoughts ride roughshod over my psyche. Lady Collective served as a turning point, when I forced myself to commit to something, anything, as a feeble attempt to revive myself. Fortunately, it worked.

And when I finally came to, I wanted to make up for lost time. After a serious relationship in my early 20s left me reeling, I took a leap and moved in with Hotswag. He’s been nothing but patient with me throughout 2014, and for that I am grateful. I started training again and reconnected with my teammates; catch me in 2015 at the L.A. marathon. I did my best to communicate with my family on a regular basis and I made time for close friends. Most importantly, I reflected on what I want to accomplish moving forward. I want to facilitate conversations using Lady Collective and other platforms that allow for open dialogue about the issues we face. I want to fight against the racist bigotry that divides us as a nation. I want to use my platform as a touchstone for developing a deep understanding of one another. These goals are not as easy to break down into steps, but I want to dedicate myself to chipping away at them every day.

Today, I’d like you to start thinking about what you’d like 2015 to look like. Sometimes, the most difficult part is being honest with yourself about the aspects you want to change; yet once you identify them, go in. Goals like “lose weight” or “volunteer” are lovely concepts, but be specific: are you going to train for 5k? Go to the gym three times a week? Where will you volunteer and how frequently? When you’re finished, write them down and put them in a place where you can see them; or, if you’re feeling bold, leave them in the comments here. Sometimes, just putting that intention out in to the world gives you the extra boost you need to follow through. I’m still kicking around my ideas, but I promise to share when they’re finished. So take stock, make plans, and your 2015 Focus on.

 

2014 In Review: Part I

I love end of year lists: Top 50 Albums of 2014, 100 Best Books of the Year, etc. It’s a great way to check up on what I missed and find some new favorites. Yesterday, I laughed when I saw two types of lists pop up on my Twitter feed: Best Feminist Moments of 2014 and Worst Moments for Women 2014. Oh, the hilarity.

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Beyoncé at the VMAs. Photo courtesy of The Independent

There have been plenty of heroic moments for women this year. At the Video Music Awards, Beyoncé declared herself a feminist in a big way. Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz and her “Carry That Weight” project graced the cover of New York Magazine, drawing attention to rape on college campuses; the #YesAllWomen hashtag sparked a conversation about women’s safety in society. Roxane Gay published Bad Feminist, a blistering series of essays that you should buy immediately and smother with margin notes. Laverne Cox owned the cover of Time, becoming the first trans woman to earn the spot. Anita Sarkeesian and her “Feminist Frequency” series picked apart harassment and stereotypes in video games and gamer culture. The amazing Shonda Rhimes dominated ABC’s Thursday night lineup with her tremendous programming and Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Fantastic!

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Laverne Cox on the cover of Time. Photo courtesy of The Guardian

But there are never gains without losses. Sulkowicz started the “Carry that Weight” project because she had, in fact, been raped and was appalled that her rapist received no charges. #YesAllWomen started in response to Eliot Roger’s misogynist shooting rampage at UCSB.  Sarkeesian cancelled a speaking engagement in Utah due to death threats, one of many instances of threatening and bullying in the #Gamergate controversy. In an appalling article that appeared in the New York Times, the piece reduced Shonda Rhimes to the stereotype of”angry black woman.” Between 4chan nude photo leaks, the spate of NFL domestic violence incidents, the trending of “Women Against Feminism”, Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court win that denied its employees birth control, the 200 Nigerian schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram, Artie Lange showing his ass on a disgusting racist and misogynistic Twitter rant towards ESPN host Cari Champion; the list exhausts me. It’s impossible to quantify a year, but at first glance, it seems impossible to break even for Team Feminist.

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Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday nights on ABC. Photo courtesy of Black Girl Nerds

Yet I challenge the notion that feminism failed in 2014. In fact, the very reason that feminism was in the running for Time Magazine’s banned “buzzword” is because it was on everyone’s lips. While the media turned its gaze on sexual harassment in the military, police brutality against people of color, rape on college campuses, and high profile domestic violence, let me restate what should be obvious: these issues have existed long before the media paid attention and they will remain issues long after it turns its fickle attention to another flavor of the week topic. Paying attention to these issues is not a trend; it is part of people’s lives. Anyone who is remotely surprised by the vitriolic and polarizing anger surrounding issues of race, gender, or sexuality, has had the privilege of not having to face discrimination along these lines in their own lives. In those case, I pass them a cup of coffee and wish them “Good morning; you are now awake. Now take that mug to your face because there’s work to do.”

When I reflect on 2014 on a personal and public level, I’m reminded of a quote by the great Zora Neale Huston: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” I think 2014 raised a lot of questions of identity and the future for me, the United States, and the world as a whole. While this festering anger is exhausting, I don’t want it to disappear (beef this up), but it’s not productive to stew in bitterness. Instead, I want to channel it to fuel power and action. We’ve still got a crew of badass women out there pressing ahead and making change. Perhaps next year at this time, we’ll have a few more answers.

We’ve got 21 days until 2015. What are you going to contribute to the fight?  Remember, the race isn’t over ‘til you cross the tape. Until then, anything is possible.

Bad Brain Beatdown

As we enter our third month, we’re mixing things up. From here on out, we’re going to drop down to three posts a week. Partly, this is due to the fact that I am only one human and (let’s be real) I’m the one who’s writing 90% of the content. Churning out four quality posts plus a Schoolin’ Life plus all the Dames of the Day is wearing me down and I want to make sure the project remains a source of joy. The other motivation to drop down to three a week is so that you, the reader, can savor the flavor. With all of this information coming at you fast and furiously, there’s no time to soak it all in. So we’re going to test out this new schedule and see how it goes; let me know what you think!

Now, on to the Monday post!

When I was 14, a friend’s faith in me changed my life. I’d been running all summer to prove to myself that I could be faster than my dad. Every day, I woke up at eight and pounded the pavement until I could complete the four mile loop by my house. Looking back, I am amazing at my own consistency. As a middle schooler, I quit basketball before the tryouts even finished. With no running goal in sight, what was different this time around?

Word got out that I’d been training. At freshman orientation, my friend Nikki approached me and told me to come out for cross country. After all, what had I trained for all summer? I tried to make excuses, but she wouldn’t hear it. Practice was on Saturday and she expected to see me there.

But while Nikki had two older sisters who’d run before her, I had no such connection. I worried myself sick thinking about that first practice; I lost my appetite and couldn’t sleep as the anxiety consumed me. I remember sitting in my driveway and sobbing with fear as my mom called for me to get in the car.

Once I got to practice, I had a fabulous time and, in that pivotal moment, everything changed. During my freshman year, I was fast enough to make the varsity squad. Over my high school career, I won races and time trials, maintained the team’s conference championship dominance, and led the team to three second place state titles. I loved the sport so much that I ran farther than I ever thought possible. This past year, I ran the Boston Marathon after qualifying the year before. And to think that my bad brain would’ve buried my head in the sand had I not been pushed.

I bring this story up because of a trend I’ve noticed amongst our Schoolin’ Life participants. Periodically, I shoot out emails to people asking them to answer our interview questions. (If you’re over 30 and I haven’t emailed you yet; please don’t feel slighted. We can chalk it up to the fact that I have a full time job and am training for a marathon, so my Lady Collective responsibilities nestle in between those two commitments.) And what struck me is that for the first round, so many women responded with no hesitation that they’d love to participate. Once we posted a few interviews, I witnessed a change. Frequently, potential subjects would express concern that their answers would not be long enough or good enough. They compared themselves to the posted interviews and felt as though their experiences did not measure up. In some cases, it took some cajoling to convince them that their posts were valuable.

Now why is that? Why, when there is nothing to which we can compare ourselves, do we take the risk? In what ways does our brain warp and twist perceived standards to count us out of the game before we even start to play?

I note this trend and urge you to combat it because I fight with my bad brain on a regular basis. I am keenly aware that, if left to its own devices, my brain will convince me that I’m not smart enough, not fast enough, not funny enough, and not pretty enough every single day. These thoughts range from the piddly surface level jitters to full-fledged curled up in the fetal position, “can’t bear to face the day” anxiety. But I’ve found that a great way to determine whether these thoughts are real or valid is to keep asking myself why until I reach the root. If the root is “I’m afraid,” I know I need to do everything in my power to combat bad brain, put those thoughts in a box, and move past them.

Clearly, answering a few interview questions is not on par with applying for a job or starting a new project. However, feelings of inadequacy can creep in no matter the situation. I ask you, as a person who wrestles with those feelings on a regular basis, to join me in the fight. Remain aware of them and refuse to cave when they tell you to sit down. Remember, ladies, that you are flawless.

What Should We Call Me Part II: Bad Feminists and Messiness

cover_bad_feministSometimes, the planets align and serendipitous encounters pop up and change the whole game. After I wrote last week’s post, I popped by Spoonbill and Sugartown and, lo and behold, they finally had Bad Feminist in stock. I’ve been searching for a copy for weeks and, within minutes of reading the introduction, I’d already underlined, notated, and starred the whole thing. While I still haven’t come across an all-encompassing term to describe myself, I feel as though author Roxane Gay provides the best explanation to date about why that is.

Gay addresses the issue of feminists vs. Feminism. Much like the lady vs. bitch argument, Gay points out that we want our ideologies to be perfectly clear cut. We oscillate between building pedestals and thrusting favored favored feminists upon them and cursing Feminism’s name when it fails to make good on all its promises.

But, as Gay notes, movements are created by people, and people are inherently flawed. We are, as Gay puts it, “messy”: as hard as we try to adhere to every tenant, we slip, we contradict, we fail. By holding feminism to perfectionist standards, we are doomed to be disappointed.

To encompass this chasm between the ideal and the practical, Gay coins the term “bad feminist.” The label fits her, she explains, because “I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example…I am just trying–trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.” I felt like this statement so delightfully encapsulates Lady Collective that I underlined, highlighted, and bracketed it. YES.

Gay admits that, for quite some time, she rejected the label of feminist as a kind of insult, as a loaded term meaning “You are an angry, sex-hating, man-hating victim lady person.” And yet, she comes to feel that this ridiculously restrictive stereotype is perpetuated by the people who fear feminism the most, who feel as those they have the most to “lose” if women gain. It is this single-minded image that blocks many women from embracing the movement or even openly supporting it. The hashtag phenomenon #idontneedfeminism is a great example; so many of the rationalizations support the advances of feminism, yet shun the term itself.

Gay argues that, in reality, feminism is large enough to include these women, too. She insists:

“Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights. I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves…We don’t all have to believe in the same feminism. Feminism can be pluralistic so long as we respect the different feminisms we carry with us, so long as we give enough of a damn to try to minimize the fractures among us.”

By the time I reach the end of the introduction, I’m inspired. I miss my stop on the train and walk to a bar where I can sit and read it again. Gay so wonderfully captures the messiness of feminism and humanity in general, our desire for greatness and our ability to push for more, and the difficulty we have acknowledging our shortcomings. We’re a fractured, disjointed bunch of humans trying to make some sense out of the chaos we called life.

The concept of “minimizing the fractures” in particular appeals to my archivist sensibilities. Recently in the field, there has been a movement to fill in the gaps of history. Traditionally, archives held government records that documented civilization on a broad, bureaucratic level. However, whole swaths of the population were not included if the government did not deem them important. As of late, more attention is paid to the gaps in documentation, what they mean and, moving forward, filling in those gaps. If we’re thinking of history as a broken mirror, this new approach tries to fill in as many pieces as we can.

Why are these pieces important? Without them, we don’t exist. Think of how you would prove your identity if you’re a U.S. citizen and your Social Security card and birth certificate were incinerated. In many countries where the government wants to destroy a group of people, they destroy the records so that there is no proof of their claims. Without documentation, how do you prove you exist? Likewise, if the conversation about feminism is limited to a handful of voices, what kind of a picture are we really painting? I want to push beyond my limits, our limits and a group, and beyond our immediate circle to get as many people talking as possible.

Let’s give a damn to try.

—D-Duff

Schoolin’ Life: Kerry Warwick

Today’s Schoolin’ Life interview comes from D-Duff’s cousin, Kerry Warwick.
Kerry Warwick
Give us a quick bio: who are you, what are you into, and how do you spend your days?
My name is Kerry Warwick, formerly Callaghan. I am a primary school teacher, which I love. I live in a gorgeous part of the English countryside with my husband, Hugh, and my cat, Eddie. I love to swim, particularly outdoors, so I spend time looking for tempting lakes and I love the sea. I like old martial arts films and I love to sing.
When you were in your 20s…
What expectations did you have for yourself over the coming decade?
I don’t think I really had any expectations for myself when I was in my 20s. I spent my time trying out different things and working out what was going to be right for me by failing at some things and succeeding at others. I think you try to spend a lot of time in your 20s doing things that you think will make others happy, so your actions are more linked with other people’s expectations rather than your own. I did expect to have a good time, though!
In what ways did society shape your expectations of yourself?
As written above, I think a lot of the decisions you make in late teens and 20s are a reaction to what you think those around you want or would approve of. Your parents’, teachers’, boyfriends’, friends’, colleagues’ opinions all seem so important and you can try and second-guess them and do things the way you think will make them happy. This method often doesn’t work and I think as you get older you become more sure of what you want, your views and where you want to be. In the end, you realize that making decisions can only come from you. The people around you will either congratulate you and jump on board, or learn to deal with it.
Short answer: society can entirely shape your expectations and the path you take if you let the views of others shout louder than yours.
What was your first job like?
My first job was an office job which kept me inside all day. I had to sell advertising space in magazines I wasn’t interested in. I took the job because I didn’t know what I wanted to do; it was close to home and I had to pay the rent. I hated it!
What was your first apartment like?
When I left university, I moved in with my (now) husband. We had no money. We lived in a tiny flat above a very noisy pub with a great couple from the Czech Republic. We had a great time!
Did you experience any big life changes?
I moved to different parts of the country 3 times, which seemed pretty life-changing at the time. I went to South America for 3 months which was an awesome experience, although someday I’d like to go back and take my time a little more. I decided I wanted to be a teacher, quit work and went back to university. I got engaged. I got married. Standard things when you are growing up, but everything you do is life changing, I think.
In what ways did your friendships change?
I realized during my late 20s who I could depend upon if I really needed someone. I learnt to identify who was a good friend for a boozy night out, who was a good person to call if I needed a laugh, and who would be there no matter what. I became more confident in who my true friends are. I began to spend more time looking after my relationships and have some real friends for life.
What did you learn through your romantic relationships?
Never try and be something different for someone. Always be honest. Be with someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel special, who loves you just the way you are. Love isn’t possessive or jealous. Happiness is key.
How did your relationships with your family change?
I went from desperately trying to please my parents to knowing that I’m doing a good job; I was doing my best, knowing that they would support me no matter what I did. Sometimes relationships with parents can feel like a battle of wills when you are younger. Often you just need time to party, travel, date unsuitable boys, etc., before you can get to the parent-pleasing stage. Now I have a great relationship with my folks. We are much more like equals. There is much more respect and less resistance from my side!
How do you feel society viewed you?
I thought everyone was judging me, everything I did seemed to matter: what I wore, what I said, what I did for a living.
In actual fact, I’m sure society in general thought, “There’s just another girl trying to find her place.”
How do you feel you changed emotionally?
Now that I’m older, I am much more resilient. I worry less about what others think. I realize that people sometimes say stupid things and don’t think about how it will affect others. I wear my heart on my sleeve less.
How did you change intellectually?
When you go to uni or school, you absorb so much information and never really know what to do with it. When you start work and living in the real world, all of the info changes into skills. I’m much more practically intelligent these days.
In what ways do you feel your identity changed?
I don’t feel like my identity changed, but I became aware of who I was and what I wanted to be.
How did your worldview change over the course of the decade?
I developed much a clearer, objective world view. In my early twenties, I was quite introspective and self-centered. It was harder to put yourself in someone else’s shoes because you weren’t comfortable in your own. Now I can empathise more, reason more and understand different viewpoints.
What was the most embarrassing moment?
I once tried to chat up a guy with marmite smeared up the side of my face.
What was your biggest disappointment and how did that affect you later?
I was disappointed that I applied to university courses thinking my school grades would be bad. When my grades came back, they were great. I should have not gone to university that year and applied for a more challenging course. Though I think I would probably still have ended up in the same career!
Who was your biggest influence and why?
Probably my sister. She has always worked hard, been successful and encouraged me. She has been the one constant friend, confidant and critic throughout my life.
Is there any one experience that you feel defined the decade? Or one historical moment that changed you?
I think my decade was defined by all of the tiny, funny, scary, embarrassing, heartbreaking moments. It’s hard to pick just one.
Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you’d done, hadn’t done, or done differently?
No regrets. Try and do everything you get the opportunity to do. (Within reason!)
Pass it on: who else do you know that would make a good interview candidate?
Hannah Shackley.