You know how some years are major milestones and you just know that they will be significant? 46 is not one of those years. I usually do something exciting and fun, like five minutes of stand up comedy or learning the final lift from the movie Dirty Dancing.
This year I was going to turn my book “She’s Losing It!” into a movie that I would eventually perform in, but it just felt a little too scary. I wrote out the Acts in storyboard format with index cards and had a long conversation with a person I met through Toastmasters who ended up producing his own movie that is almost ready to be released for some advice, which he gave. I have all the basic outlines of what I need in terms of budget, production crew and a good script, and yet I still haven’t finished this project. The only thing holding me back is me. Sometimes scary things take longer than a year to complete so as a birthday gift to myself I’m extending my deadline for another year. Heck, it took me 31 years before I was finally able to do the lift from Dirty Dancing, what’s one more year? I’ll eventually get my nerve up, because in all honesty I’m almost ready to age out of my own damn story!
Instead, this year I did something also scary, but a bit more significant big picture – I was the Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Texas Capitol. We formed our own nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) non-profit in October. We specifically wanted to focus on issues with a theme of rallying the vote. At the event, which was January 18, 2020, we had volunteers onsite to register people to vote and had various women-centered non-profits there to offer more information about their organizations.
I made some good friends and was reminded that consensus building is really important when everyone has different ideas and different ways of communicating said ideas. The event really pushed me to grow my technical skills too. I taught myself Wix (thank you YouTube videos!) and designed a website in three days (you can check it out here: www.womensmarchatx.org). My friend, Shannon, taught me how to create graphics for free using Canva that I could use across social media. I learned how to sell things with Shopify, and work on my fundraising pitch by speaking with various groups in Austin.
Going to city planning meetings was an eye-opener. I had no idea how much it cost just to shut down the roads and walk down the street in Austin! Permits, police, EMS, traffic signs, insurance, recycle bins, stage and sound equipment and (keeping it real) porta potties are insanely expensive! I was so grateful that the other Co-Chair, Trish Contreras, focused on the minutiae of all the permits and safety plans while I focused on other areas.
On the final day of the Rally at the Capitol, our team felt like we finished a long marathon only to realize that we were actually signed up for a triathlon 😉 Each woman put her own mark on the rally to make sure that diverse voices were heard and that people attending felt motivated and inspired when they went home. It especially made me feel proud that my daughter, Rylee, got to hold the American flag as her Girl Scout troop led the opening ceremony.
I was also grateful that men were supportive too! From my husband helping with loading and unloading banners and breaking down recycle bins, to my son donating $5 to the cause, to a member of my Toastmasters club videotaping the volunteer training class – it just reaffirmed that there are lots of good guys out there. I’m happy so many people showed up to make their voices heard.
I never thought I’d become an activist; sometimes in life we just have to meet the moment, especially when it empowers people to go out and vote. It’s nice to know I can still surprise myself, even at 46.
Now I’m going to focus on making a movie. Cause why the hell not?