The Things We Do For Our Passion

I just traveled 23 hours by train, plane, and taxi to arrive in our nation’s capital. Just short of horse carriage and rowboat, I made my way across the Atlantic to attend the TEDxWomen event this weekend. Maybe it was the line up of speakers, the issues we’ll be discussing or the caliber of women it attracts, but something about this female-filled conference justified the long trip.

You see, I think women possess the ability to make the world great. It may sound trite or sophomoric, but in a pedantic-less attempt to capture the essence of this blog, I really think chicks rock, especially the kind of chicks I'm about to be surrounded with for a solid 48 hours. Just in case you don't know of or haven't heard of TED, it's a conference compiled of a series of 20-minute talks bringing together the brightest minds to tackle the world's greatest problems, enlighten people, and inspire more compassion. This weekend is special, though, because it's all women.

Now in my rant of how awesome I think girls are, I have to admit that a lot of my optimism hinges on the fact that I've witnessed just how much progress we need to make. It's not just the bullying, backstabbing nonsense plaguing our schools, workplaces, and life; it's also the people-pleasing we do at the expense of ourselves and the crippling insecurity to make our voices heard. In Jessica Valenti's recent article, the problem of our desire to be liked above our ability to be authentic is addressed and it couldn't have resonated with me more. Why? Because my disproportionate offense to mean comments made by nameless, faceless cowards shows my desire for other's approval. Ideally, I would have achieved some award for not allowing my confidence to dance on the approval of others by now, so I could start teaching seminars on how to remain unaffected by other's opinions of me, but quite frankly, I haven't.

I remain a work-in-progress, not above society’s pressure telling me that I will never be enough. I’m not above breathing truth to the lies convincing me that my happiness is somewhere outside of myself and that my self-worth is devastatingly commensurate to my forever-flawed, physical body, which always seems to fall miserably short of some standard of perfection. I’m not above the insecurities of my ego, my pride, and feeling threatened by girls who seem to “outshine me.” While I am humbled by the proof of my humanity, I’m not victim to it and fortunately what can be taught can be untaught and what software was originally installed can be upgraded.

I remain an optimist with a dream that we can relearn to value ourselves, that our competitive natures can transform into collaborative-driven support systems, and our desire to be “liked” can lessen its grip on our motives. This type of conference brings together the kind of women willing to head straight for the front lines to battle it out. It’s a privilege to fight for my sisters, to stand up for my friends, to encourage my ladies, and to believe in the possibility of a future where we strip off our insecurities and surpass our potential.

I can only imagine the insights, inspiration, epiphanies, and magic I’m about to witness this weekend. Stay tuned for updates and join the global conversation. We really can make the world better, one girl at a time.

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