Addy's blog: Be the challenge
Last year I had a rough year, which is a probably a massive understatement as we have all had a rough 2020! But on top of all the challenges that Covid threw at us, I lost part of my bowel, my job and my mum, had full on chemo during lockdown/home schooling and then tried to get a new job. All this left me adrift and lost.
On the outside you could forgive me for not knowing what was next, I was like much of the world, just figuring out each day how to get to the end of it without going mad. But I was lost on the inside - I didn't know who I was, I didn't know what I was good at, I didn't know what my values or strengths were. I didn't know where I wanted to work or what I wanted to do. I realised that I needed help, so with the support of a professional coach we worked through some tough questions and I got to know myself again. The overall thing I got out of the programme is that I now know that I am not defined by where I work or what I do. That who you are as a person is so much more than that, now I know I am not defined by what I did previously.
Last week on 8th March it was International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Choose to Challenge. The IWD official website blurb says “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let's all choose to challenge. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”
With these words swirling around my head, I sat down to write this blog and I spent a few minutes thinking about what I wanted to say. I realised on self-reflection that what I wanted to do was to acknowledge all the small things I do every day, that I believe in, that make me who I am.
I choose to call out bad behaviour.
I choose to reject microaggressions.
I choose to mentor people in my spare time.
I choose to spend time learning how I can make myself a better, more educated person.
I choose to be a LGBTQ+ ally.
I choose to stand up for what I believe in.
I choose to be an equal parent with my husband.
I choose to get vaccinated.
I choose to face cancer head on.
I choose to hold people to account for their actions.
I choose to not hide away my disability.
I choose to talk openly about mental health issues.
I choose to teach both my son and daughter what fair and equal means, and I hope in their lifetime they will see a more gender equal world (although the WEF says its over 99 years away!)
I choose to love and to celebrate love in all its forms.
I choose to listen.
I choose to embrace and celebrate diversity.
Overall, I choose to challenge.
If the last eighteen months has taught me anything it’s that even though the world can be a cruel and unjust place, it’s that life is worth fighting for. I have much to be thankful for; two beautiful kids, a loving husband, a roof over my head and a fridge full of food (now the kids are back at school!). I am alive, I am in remission, I know who I am again and what I stand for.
Gandhi said “be the change that you wish to see in the world”. So, I ask you, what are you going to do today, however small, that will challenge the world around you and help to change it?
Addy normally works in Risk & Compliance in the city, has a 5-year-old trainee F1 driver, a 4-year-old aspiring space doctor, a lovely hands on husband and two mad rescue cats.