Water is choppy but I've got good balance
This past month has been intense! I’ve had many learning opportunities in both my day job and my school board position, with lots of growth, listening and collaboration. Add in a seasonal virus that’s going around, a conference for Envirospouse (the Mr. to my Ms. title), a conference for me, a broken laptop and an upcoming family wedding and well, we have a nice choppy surface to navigate our paddle board through (we’re not seaworthy enough to be a full boat y’all! One day!!!)
Some of the big things I’m churning through right now:
Equity. It’s on my mind, it’s on many people’s mind (check out this Guardian article). I see people asking questions, listening, and being providing safe spaces to people of colour. This is huge in a day-to-day conversational space. I’m going to plagiarize myself off of Facebook to add what one can do on a daily basis to provide safe space:
A) never say, “well i have a friend who is xyz and they say abc” - I’ve often been silenced sharing my opinion by negations like this one, as it insinuates that, since my opinion isn’t the same as the friend being quoted, it carries no weight.
B) never ever say something like, “I don’t believe or see colour” because implies that my inherent differences are invisible, pushing the thesis that the speaker views everything with a forced sameness that I can’t differentiate against. (So like racism can’t exist if that person can’t see me for who I am?..)
Progress. My school district is doing some amazing things right now. There was the menstrual initiative that got moved, the nourishment program (which was implemented under the previous board but reach fruition due to the hard work of current staff), the comprehensive special education review that’s about to start, tour path to supporting and identifying gifted students , and the long-range strategic planning work we’re doing right now. I’ll talk more about some of the newer initiatives as they solidify. I want everyone to know, it’s a really exciting time here, and we’re moving deliberately in measured paces towards a better school district every single meeting.
Support. I’ve been so lucky this month, I’ve had so many people pitch in to keeping me afloat, I can’t possibly name them all. My work family, who understand how my schedule is topsy-turvy and roll up their sleeves and help out in so many ways. My district family, who listen patiently when I really need an ear, give invaluable feedback to the work I’m proposing, and round out my perspective with wholesome and sometimes uncomfortable but completely valid questions. My actual family, who I can’t possibly repay in a lifetime (Hi Mom! I love you so hard! Thank you every day all day!!!). My friends, who check in, remind me of deadlines, verify my math (budgeting and filing this was largely the work of one very amazing person who I am SO fortunate to have in my life), and keep me sane. Of course, my City, for electing me in this realm and giving me a solid community to advocate with and for. Envirospouse is certain that the universe provides what we need when we need it. I find that so difficult to believe and yet, it’s been true for me, at least this past month. My gratitude knows no bounds right now.
I know the water is choppy and the tides keep moving; my balance is trusty and even if I fall in, Mama Ansari raised me to climb back up again and again. I’m going to keep paddling New West. This journey just keeps getting better.