Feminist Mantra Monday 18: Open Doors
I've coined 2017 my year of opening all the doors. All of them. Every single one I come across. I'm like your kid when you go to a friend's house, and they immediately run around the whole place barging into every single room. Except I knock .. sometimes.
Right now I am signing up for every class that sounds cool, showing up for every event my friends throw, and following up with every neat acquaintance I meet. I am putting all my feelers out there and coffee-dating my heart out. So this week, for example, I am: attending my first flower-arranging workshop, catching the Riot Grrl exhibition at the art museum, speaking on a panel about women in philosophy, listening to a brilliant local activist speak, interviewing a band for a podcast, and organizing an event for the International Women's Strike. Plus my normal job and school and friend activities.
Part of this is because I have always been someone who does things, so I gravitate toward new and exciting opportunities. The other reason is that I'm looking to make some lifestyle and career changes in the next year or two, and I want to know what my options are, all of them, every last one.
As a result of this, I appear to be doing everything at once, and the choruses of "I don't know how you have the time" are directed my way at least twice as often as they used to be. So when a friend pointed me to this piece by Mara Zepeda last week, I audibly sighed with relief. Mara is a person who gets asked "How do you do it all?" about ten-million times more than I do, and her answer in the essay is fairly straightforward: "With love. And with others."
No single person can do everything. As much as the "you can't have it all" chorus annoys me, I have to recognize its truth. That said, one person can cultivate a network that allows them to create meaningful change with widespread impact.
For everyone cool project I launch (like Feminist Mantras or the amelioratic newsletter, woo!), there's a friend/boyfriend showing up to make me dinner and remind me to eat every so often (hi, Emily & Andrew, y'all are the best!). For every trip I take in the middle of the week to attend a great conference, there's a wonderfully flexible boss who lets me rearrange my hours to best suit my schedule. And for every day that I feel like I'm totally lost on this crazy path toward self-employment there's a whole community of creative women cheering me on.
So this week's mantra is a reminder to try new things and follow your gut down those long hallways of life. The real living comes through the doors you throw open on a whim. Next week we'll get back to the reminders that there are also doors in your life that it's really important to shut. But more on that later.