Quotes and Inspiration

THE COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN & AGEISM TIMELINE

The complicated relationship women have with ageism timelines is infamous, with no expiration date in sight. There is something innate within us that makes us feel that by a certain age, we need to have experienced various achievements. We need to have an amazing career by 25, be married by 28 (which is usually the biggest one we feel pressure to achieve early), start a family by 30 and travel to different countries by 40. These types of ageism timelines can cause such mental toil in our minds. Then, we become enormously hard on ourselves when our ageism timelines don’t add up to what our current life looks like. Why is this? Why do we as women structure ourselves and our lives in such an intense way? Our ageism timelines start to take effect at a very early age. From the actors on TV show...

UN/ABLE

Light shines through wooden shutters covering our back door. A little pocket of bright sunshine casts shadows on the floor, making patterns and rows on the carpet. Outside the breeze rustles the branches and shakes the leaves. The air is warm and ever-changing. Fluid. The light dances through. Soft tawny fur covers my shirt and blanket, but the heat from a sweet dog warms my hands as I rub his belly. He’s heavy, comforting and doesn’t move unless I do. The house isn’t silent. I hear cars and trucks moving outside on the road. A fan is on overhead. The air conditioning is running in the other room, but all is calm. All is well. I sit just like this for days on end. Unable. Unable to get up. Unable to start the day. Unable to move. Why can’t I just move? Heaviness weighs me down. Deeply root...

4 STEPS TO REINVENTION & GROWTH: HAWAII STYLE

I recently spent a glorious two weeks in Hawaii and experienced the beauty of Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands. For the two weeks that I was there, I was in constant admiration of the view, the water, the trees and a permanent smile lit up my face…. I’m sure the few Mai Tais also helped. Even on the last day, I was still happy snapping the view and sunsets, saying to my husband and friends “can you believe how gorgeous it is?” Not even Hurricane Lane threatening to hit our island during our first week could dampen the holiday. We prepared ourselves as best we could, stayed calm, and made the most of every day, having a hurricane party in our room during lockdown while the kids created their own Britain’s Got Talent show.   Now I’m not going to lie, there have been a few of our overseas ...

TRIBE, LOVE, COURAGE: LEADERSHIP IN A HASHTAG

On my birthday this year, I received an invitation to speak at the #LeadLikeAGirl Conference. Little did I know that this invitation would be the start of something much bigger. As I prepared for the conference and for my words of wisdom, I started thinking about the message I wanted to share with the aspiring young girls and women I would be in the room with. I began reflecting on the things and people who helped me on my own journey of growth, specifically as a woman in STEM. What became clear were three things: the tribe of people who supported me, the love that I have for my passions, and the courage I grew to persevere.   Tribe. Love. Courage. These three words, though simple, are the foundation for growing into a leader. It is the basis for a mutually beneficial community that one bo...

WHY HAVING PINK HAIR MAKES ME A BADASS

You would think making my hair cotton candy pink would make me feel soft, feminine, weak. I, too, thought it would make me feel girly.   And I mean girly in that derogatory way that most people mean it. And, by the way, it must stop. “Girly” was something people said with the word, “ew”, in front. As in, “Ew, that’s so girly!” I remember high school being a minefield of such judgments.   The above sentence was met with one of two responses. Either, favorable, as in, “Oh I know,” with a giggle. Picture that girl, we all knew one. No judgment on life choices, you do you, but to play into the negative connotations of the term bothered me, and bothers me still.   The other response was unfavorable and defensive. “No, I’m not”, met with a snarl, “You don’t know me.” Often this was f...

YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL, JUST NOT ALL AT ONCE…WRONG

I heard a saying a few years ago that really resonated, and I latched onto it: “you can have it all, just not all at once.” I was wrong!  The statement was made in relation that not all of your life can be all that you want it to be at once. There will always be something that is sacrificed while other areas are peaking, and that’s ok. It pretty much nails the definition of sacrifice: give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations.  Just accept it knowing other areas are doing great and you can’t have everything.  I latched onto this at the time because it was what I needed to hear. It made it ‘ok’ in my mind to sacrifice happiness in some areas and it gave me an excuse. I created that belief. It wasn’t a belief that I was happy with those areas or that I’d accepted it for...

HOW 100 VULVAS CHANGED ME

I did a crazy thing this year. I painted 100 Vulva artworks. Wrapped up in this little thing called the 100-day project, I took a leap into a place that changed my trajectory for 2018.  It started with some traps.  The short story is that I had been seeing some creatives on Instagram murmuring about a mysterious 100-day project. They were brainstorming their projects. As I let my imagination take over and fit me into this project I came up with my own ideas. My gut and brain—in simpatico—jumped to “vaginas, I should make vagina art for 100 days.” Of course, as I tried to weigh my options and brainstorm other ideas, I didn’t feel that spark. So as if it were fate, that’s how this began.   However, it wasn’t fate.   The long story is that about a year before I started this project I wa...

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A DISABILITY

Traveling with a disability caused by chronic illness can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. In my experience of traveling with Muscular Dystrophy (MD), doing the right type of research and proactive planning in advance can help create a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable trip. Some of the simplest outings–a date, night on the town or happy hour–can pose major problems when it comes to moving about freely with a disability. I’ve had too many experiences to not learn how to make sure the venue and overall trip will be as comfortable as possible. There are a few suggestions I want to share with those who may be unsure of how to prepare for going out for a night or overnight while living with a disability of any type or cause. Here’s my best advice: Do your research! The f...

THE JOURNEY TO THE STAGE– AN ESSAY BY RACHEL WISE

I sing without thinking. It comes as naturally to me as the sun rising. Using my voice to make music is a part of who I am, and I feel as though I was born to sing. I’ve had a dream to be a professional singer since I could remember that was actually a thing. The first time I remember ever singing in public is when I was two years old at my grandparents church in Ashland, Mississippi. As a child, I was naturally an outgoing person and enjoyed singing in choirs and church bands, but as I got older, the plague of stage fright became worse;  The shaking hands, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and cracking voice happened any time I was assigned to sing a solo. Let me tell you, that only goes away with practice, and thankfully my love of singing outweighed my fear of mistakes and what...

I AM NOT DEFINED BY WHO I LOVE

When I was a young girl, I was provided with these standards and guidelines on the woman that I was supposed to become. I was told my aspirations in life were to fall in love with a man, be a mother and live in a white picket fence home providing for my husband and children. I was so young that I believed that was the path all young girls were supposed to follow. Once I was around seventeen, I discovered that the love I was supposed to feel for a man, I felt for women. The moment I discovered that realization, I was hit with a flood of negative emotions because I was not the woman that society wanted me to be. I believe that women are faced with that pressure everyday. When I came out to my parents, they began defining me by who I loved rather than who I was as an individual. Suddenly my a...

AUGUST SUPERWOMAN: CHELSEA FUNK, FOUNDER OF PIT AND PUG ADAPTIVE

Every day, we get dressed: pull on our jeans, button our shirts, tie our shoes. For some of us, it’s not something we think about very deeply, but for others, the daily task of putting clothes on presents challenges that are unique to them. Chelsea Funk of Columbus, Ohio seeks to bring inclusive fashion to differently-abled kids through Pit and Pug Adaptive, and it’s a project that is changing lives. Chelsea knows what it’s like to feel like clothes never really fit right; she was born with amniotic band syndrome and is without part of her left arm. She specifically recalled having a hard time finding winter clothes that fit. However, this simply inspired Chelsea. She knew she wanted to help people full-time, and she had learned to sew from a mentor. Thus, she decided to give fashion a try...

WHY MAKING MISTAKES ISN’T ALWAYS A BAD THING

I was recently reminded that I can be impulsive, indecisive, and at times, chaotic. Generally, these are not great adjectives for a business owner — or anyone — to have. But I am who I am, and despite others’ opinions, I am okay with that. In fact, I admit that I have never been more proud of myself than I am today. Over the past few months, working for myself has provided me with a lot of time to think and reflect back on all the decisions I made that led me to where I am now. Some of them were fairly impulsive, some of them were risky, but I don’t regret any of them. While they technically were mistakes, I am glad I made them when I did. So, I want to use this example from my own life to teach you — or remind those of you who knew but have forgotten — why making mistakes isn&...

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