Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Something About Me.

I once interviewed for a job with a man who would be my senior if I were to get the job. He asked me questions. I gave him answers. Confidently. I watched him become agitated with each answer. I was offered the job. I declined.

The next day my phone rang. It was the man wondering if he was the reason I didn’t take the job. The conversation was awkward as we both knew something about me triggered something in him. I don’t think either of us knew what it was exactly.

I do know, in my bones, my presence does this to people sometimes. The stories are endless. The man who was consistently – in the words of a dear colleague – “a dick when he spoke to me.” Or the one who went out of his way to text me to smile in the middle of a meeting in which I was simply concentrating. Or the insinuation that my career success will never compare to my husband's, or that any gains I make are entirely due to luck.

I tell these stories because watching Kamala Harris get sworn into the second highest office in the land means something to people like me. Even if I disagreed with every policy she ever put forth, her presence in that office would mean something to me and so many others - so many whose experiences have been far more intense than those above. In my bones, I know she knows these experiences. And I think her knowing is important.

When I was young, my dad used to take me golfing with him. We’d both tee off, then he’d have me pick my ball up, and we’d play the hole together from where his initial drive landed. To keep up the pace of the game. Then, one day, we teed off, and my ball went further. I turned to my dad and said; “want to grab your ball and we can play the hole from where my ball is?” 

You know, to keep up the pace of the game.

He smiled. Proud. And laughed.

He taught me I could play the game with the big boys. Maybe even beat them. And, I’d be met with a proud smile.

So, as Kamala grabs the proverbial ball and moves it forward. I’ll smile. Proud. And hope what my dad taught me will become more true for my daughter – that she can truly play whatever game she wants with the big boys. And, in my bones, I’ll know she’ll probably out-drive them.

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