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Take Two

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Accepting messy and the need to apologize sometimes for inadvertent mistakes are better than silence.

No matter how frustrating life was the day before, or how long the night, out of the dark each morning rays of light emerge. Dawn is a cosmic reset button. I’ve always loved the idea of new beginnings – I am a fearless “resolutioner” every January. I start each day with a fresh “to do” list. I believe in second chances. And so, here we are, months after allowing this blog to lay fallow, a post.

Readers might ask, what happened? I took on a new role as a professor at the UNC School of Social Work, which did exactly what all my mentors said it would – tossed me into having two jobs not one. Teaching was challenging – I had a big learning curve. It was intense. The students were amazing. What else? My firstborn went away to college – four hours away. What should have opened up space for creativity turned into a time of questions – who am I? We missed her dreadfully. She did really well. All those feelings were confusing and tired me out. I also realized that I do not have the super power of making 8 days out of 7. I have limits. Dang it!

The bigger problem, however was that I began to doubt the authenticity of my voice. When it comes to categories, as a white, middle aged, educated, hetero, politically liberal woman with no baggage, I am not interesting. Many in the world are already forced to view it from my lens. What right do I have to comment on tragedies like the riots in Baltimore, the shooting in Charleston, the Supreme Court Rulings, House Bill #2 in North Carolina, Orlando? I was afraid that I’d say something wrong and out myself for who I am. Ironically, as a feminist I ended up silencing myself, and the coalition.

Anne Lamott, the writer, saved the day. First she points out that “Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting.” Accepting messy and the need to apologize sometimes for inadvertent mistakes are better than silence.
I can speak truth to power and privilege. I will be brave and put my thoughts out there – for comments and dialogue. Anne Lamott also underscores a very important point when she writes, “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”

So let’s figure it out. I can build a platform then together let’s make this our open mike. Take Two.

By: Sarah Verbiest, Director, Every Woman Southeast Coalition

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