Even with social media giving us every opportunity to show off our accomplishments, many Caribbean women still feel like they can't cheer for themselves. You can have pride in your country, your children’s achievements, your team's wins, your husband and other family members when they do well, but pride in yourself? Not really. So we hope and pray and wait for validation from others. We wait on people to toot our horn for us. Problem is – how on earth do you let people know you have a horn to toot – so they can toot it for you - if you can’t tell people the amazing thing you’ve accomplished?
That’s a catch 22 if I ever saw one. Also, my kids would be proud at the number of times I worked “toot” into that paragraph.
You have to be humble... wait for your rewards in heaven... God knows what you did... Well. All of this is true, but these days, you get more work based on what you have done. If you don't tell people what you have done... no work.
I had no intention of going to BlogHer, and somehow, tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane to Los Angeles. I had decided that I was going to 2, maybe three conferences this year. Since law school, I have been able to squeeze in 2 per year – one in the summer and one in the fall. But then the email came…
I think I read it about 10 times before I told my husband over Google hangout (that’s the new name for their text chat too). I had to make sure that it was addressed to me. I clicked on the link to be sure that they had picked my video for real. It was mine. I read it again. They said we couldn’t tell anyone until they announced it. WHAAAAATTTT? Read it again… “publicly.” Oh… gotcha. Well, my husband isn’t on social media, other than LinkedIn, so I figured he wouldn’t really know what I was talking about, but if nothing else, he’d be happy because I was happy.
I had been selected as a 2016 Voices of the Year Honoree AND I would be presenting my selection on the stage during the Community Keynote... AND Aisha Tyler would be the emcee. Yes. This was happening.
You know those times in your life when things go well, and you are really careful about who you tell so they don’t ruin it for you? This was one of those times. First up? The husband. Next? The kids…. They ran downstairs yelling and screaming and cheering. Only the oldest stopped after a few minutes and asked what we were all cheering for. I told him, and the happy dancing resumed. I still don’t think they have any idea what is happening.
Then I told the friends and family that I talk to every day. They were hype for me too. Then… I did what everyone else did… the minute BlogHer announced the honorees, I told the world on social media - that included family and friends who would be given the option to be happy or not. They could click like, or love, comment, or just scroll by it and say nothing. Any of those would be cool to be honest. None of the platforms I’m on have a “dislike” or “thumbs down” really, so unless my news made them angry, sad, or amused – they could like it, love it, congratulate me, or keep it pushing. There were a lot of "congratulations," and that felt pretty awesome - can't lie.
My dad isn’t on social media either. [UPDATE: He just added me to his circle on Google+... pop your collar dad!] I didn’t figure he’d get it so I decided I’d tell him a day or two before I left. He called me in the middle of the day the week before last. Now you know – when a parent calls you at like 12 in the afternoon, you pick up. He was just checking on me – nothing urgent, but I decided to tell him then. I fully expected to have to explain the whole thing to him, which I really didn’t want to do. Not that he doesn’t deserve a full explanation, but I know my dad. He doesn’t have time for all that. I think I got it down to one sentence. “I’m going to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks to show a video I made and accept an award.” Something like that.
He paused – presumably to make sure that I heard every word he was about to say. He said that he was proud of me, and that there was a light inside of me that draws people to me and to the work that I do. He told me that I “try so hard,” and that he “always knew I’d do great things.” I didn’t even know how to respond. I said “thank you,” but I really wanted to just curl up on the floor in the fetal position and cry. I didn’t though.
We talked about my upcoming graduation, and how happy he was that I would be doing something that I always wanted to do AND graduating from his alma mater! He was so excited, that I wished I had told him about being a Voices of the Year Honoree earlier.
He didn’t talk about me being a late bloomer, or mention what I didn’t do. He didn’t mention what I could have done better or different – he was actually truly happy for me. It probably wouldn’t have mattered what I said really. He’d have been pleased. At the end of the day, that’s all we really want. We want to hear that something we did was good.
When something awesome happens to you, are you able to share without feeling guilty or like a show off? Who do you tell first? Why? Let me know in the comments.
*While everything on the internet isn't true - this is!* [HAPPY DANCE]