Bringing inspiration to my own backyard
I decided I’m starting a non-profit. Because the color-coded, glaring compilation of my life’s goals and limitations is staring back at me everyday and starting a non-profit is one of those goals that’s way up on my mental priority list. Because I’m 27, which means my life is half over, or at least to me it is, because in my head I feel like I am 50 most days. But mostly, because geographically I am situated right where I think the crusade should begin.
As a woman, it’s easy to feel inspired, enabled, empowered when you’re surrounded by the type of feminine influences who eat that motto for breakfast every morning; women who make it their life’s mission to awaken a mission in other women. When you can wake up in DC, or other metro areas, and know that if you look hard enough, you might find a conference or seminar or happy hour networking session that will somehow deliver the exact pick-me-up you needed on a day when you were feeling a little less than Riveter, you can sort of recharge your spirit and get moving again. I’m going to pretend to be an expert on this because I speak from experience, as I’ve spent plenty of hours fluttering through metro DC hunting an inspirational fix. And I’ve never been disappointed as I typically leave with my endorphins on a high and my ambition in overdrive, ready to make a difference once I get off the plane and step right back into my own reality complete with the kind of humidity that sucks the life right out of you.
I’m not gonna lie, on more than one occasion, I’ve envisioned stepping foot on southern soil and starting a classics mix Flash Mob led by Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” where all the southern women unite to preach a movement rooted in confidence and belief in one’s self. More often than not, my Glee rendition turns into me just humming Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” over and over because ultimately I get a few days in at home and I start to feel discouraged about making change right where I sit.
Maybe my mission is a bit selfish-YES, I need inspiration like I need coffee. And nobody wants to know me when I’ve been deprived of a caffeine drip. But just like my journey to find a career that poetically fits together with my life, I believe in a cause that will do the same.
Another “Why Not?” moment for me, why can’t we have the same kind of empowerment formula where I live and breathe and eat and work and play? This isn’t a criticism of the South by any means. In fact, I will swear by southern hospitality, sweet tea, and boiled peanuts any day and I truly believe it when we refer to this as God’s Country. At one point, the Army tried to take the girl out of the south when we were stationed in Washington state, but there was no taking the south out of the girl. And I was nothing short of giddy when it was time to come back to what I know.
And because I know what I know about where I grew up, I’m compelled to wake up the same enthusiasm I feel when I’m listening to a successful female keynote or talking to young college grads about their passions in life.
I realized I can’t choose to change what I know nothing about. If I did that, I’d probably be having an entire dialogue with you right now on how I think football should be a much nicer game without so much hitting. While I am a self-professed Tebow groupie, I pretty much fake my way through the season and rely on Google when it’s time to have an educated conversation about whether an interference call was correct or a pass was plain incomplete (I know, I don’t think that makes much sense either…). Point-I know nothing about football so you can rest assured I won’t begin a movement for “nice” football anytime soon.
Even though I ended up in Alabama at the Army’s discretion, I didn’t grow up far away in Florida’s panhandle, better known as LA-Lower Alabama. It’s not that female confidence and camaraderie aren’t an issue everywhere else in the world, but my mission starts at home.
So I’m giving birth to Project ACE. To bring women together, inspire them, show them what they’re made of, because I need it too. But also largely in part I gave birth to my own ACE 3 years ago and I think she’s going to need something like this one day on her own journey.
I have no clue what I’m doing. So far, starting my own business was cake compared to what it takes to start a non-profit and the tax research alone has given me a whole new vocabulary. But truthfully, when the nurses handed me a 7-pound scrunched little person to care for, I was pretty darn clueless then too. And still am.
As a guard against all parenting failures, I’ve vowed that if I am royal screw-up, I’ll make sure and pay for really good therapy for my daughter later. I’m officially adopting the same motto for Project ACE, if it blows up in my face, I’ll be sure to channel my energy into my new business to make sure I can afford my own therapy down the road…
Image from http://www.genconnect.com/giving-back/celebrate-womens-history-month-international-womens-day/