#Pledge for Change 2020

by Lisa Hannay @lhannay1

This blog will be a hodge podge of thoughts. It has been taking form in my mind since I signed up to write one a few weeks ago. As soon as I had registered for the blog event the word "self-deprecating" came in my head and has been rattling around ever since.

Self deprecating humor has been part of my defensive arsenal probably my whole life. At the same time it can disarm people, it can also keep them at a safe distance. I joke about my age, my weight, my eating - nothing is off limits. There is shame attached to this humor. There is also a growing vulnerability - in the way Brene Brown talks about vulnerability. Vulnerability that morphs into strength. Vulnerability that chips away at the shame.

I have people in my life that call me on my humor from time to time - "oh stop it - if you are old what does that make me?" I have realized that if I am serious about empowering women, then I need to be better at showing my strengths and depend less on my humor - particularly my self-deprecating humor. Being active in #WomenEd I have also learned about leaning in and a little about leaning out. I have come to realize also that women's lack of presence in positions of power or in leadership may be more about the system, policies and practices that are steeped in patriarchy and designed for men, by men.

It isn't always about my confidence or my weight or any of my other perceived shortcomings - these I acknowledge and work on.

I need to use my strengths to raise my own voice and help raise the voice of others and challenge the structures that keep women and others living in the margins out of leadership positions. Yes, I, we, need to start with ourselves.

Gather a network, skill-up, stand up. Women are particularly good at self awareness in my experience. But it is also about listening for language that minimizes women or leaves us out entirely. It is about being afraid but still calling out when panels are all male - and white male at that. It is about sharing leadership with other women. It is about challenging pay inequity if this exists where you are. It is about putting ourselves out there for the opportunities or encouraging another woman trying to advance herself.

This blog and my pledge was going to be about change. I want to become more comfortable with my strengths but I know this is going to be hard. I am not comfortable with displays of strength and accomplishment. It looks like bragging to me. It smacks of arrogance to me. But this is because my perspective and experience has been colored with shame and I have engaged with the world standing several steps lower in order to be accepted. I have used my humor to make myself less than and that needs to stop. I will never stop being funny - after all I am my biggest fan - but I need to stop entertaining the world at my expense. This lesson I learned from Hannah Gadsby in her Netflix sow Nanette.

My pledge for 2020 is change. Change my perspective. Change my lens. Change a few things around me as I go. If I don't change, nothing changes.

Thanks for reading!
Lisa H
#WomenEd #DGMeet #Pledgeforchange20


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