“She has no tolerance for people who want to stay in that privileged place of neutrality, stubbornly refusing to engage, or take sides, or make change actually happen with their own hands. The bitch inside is most terrifying when she is silent, but when she speaks, she knows what you don’t want to hear and says it anyway—right to your face.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve attended several out-of-office meetings and found myself switching bags pretty frequently to accommodate my needs related to functionality, preparedness, and comfort at each meeting. One of the biggest deciding factors for me has been whether or not Wi-Fi is accessible and how pressing my workload is at the moment. Meaning: can my sanity afford for me to be away from the office for two days without checking email or following up on projects? Usually the answer is no. In some cases I can get by with my iPad, in others I can only feel at ease with my laptop. So that begins the process of determining which bag to go with. Then comes the question of what else to take and how to organize it all.
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A great article on this subject comes from WomenCEO Project. Earlier this year Kristi Jackson, Founder posted the TOP 9 Things ANY Biz Women Worth Her Salt Should Carry in Her Bag. Briefly, the list includes a pen, your updated calendar, your Smart phone, project notebook, headphones, portable iPad/Netbook/Mac Air/tablet, flats, hand lotion/mints/spare hose, and other miscellaneous items. I certainly agree with all of the items listed but would add a few of my own.
For instance, I always have a backup charger for my iPhone with me—I’d move that item from the miscellaneous list to the MUST HAVE list. Last Christmas, I snagged the Opso backup battery from apel pi and I LOVE it! This cute, sleek, apple-shaped device fits in the palm of my hand and makes it easy to toss in the bag and go. I can get two full charges to my phone, if needed.
I’d also add a water bottle to the list. Hydration is important for any woman on the go, especially during these hot summer days when we’re constantly moving in/out of hot humid temps and air-conditioned rooms. Maybe even toss a snack of dried fruit and nuts or a protein bar to go along with it.
On a related note, keeping your lips moisturized is key, too. I always carry both Vaseline Lip Therapy (cherry flavor) and Burt’s Bees Lip Shine (Wink) for that extra glow. Chapped lips can be a distraction to both the speaker and the listeners.
Starbucks makes the most delicious coffee on the go in their VIA Ready Brew (Blonde Roast). I’ve started keeping a packet in my bag for those times when I need an extra boost or just have a taste for some coffee. The packets are very convenient and make a perfect cup every time. I also like the After Coffee Mints from Starbucks. The slim container fits nice and neat in my carryall.
Last, I always have to remember to bring my ID, Metro Smart Trip card, personal debit card, company credit card, and a little bit of cash (having cash on hand is where I don’t do so well). Often times I consolidate my personal items into my workbag to decrease the weight of how much I’m carrying throughout the day. I’ve opted to keep my few personal items in a small clutch that I can grab and fit into any size workbag.
No matter what, I always double-check that I have the necessary essentials before leaving to get my day started. So what are your workbag essentials? Is there one thing you absolutely can’t leave home without? Any tips on a good, reliable workbag?
For the past few weeks I’ve been taking an “Intro to Ballet” class. The course is 5 weeks long, meeting every Saturday, at the Maryland Youth Ballet. This is my second go ‘round with taking the class and now I’ve added “Beginning Ballet” 1-2 per week. I love taking theses classes! Not only is ballet beautiful but what I love the most is that it helps me to SLOW DOWN and focus on one beautiful thing—my body in poised, elongated and sustained movement.
I tend to think, work, walk and move at a fairly rapid pace—all the time (SN: I do everything rapidly except eat; I’m such a terribly slower eater). It’s nice to change that up and get a reasonable workout at the same time. What I’ve learned though, as I’ve added these additional classes during the week, is that the technique of ballet is WAY MORE intense than I thought. Initially my thinking was, “Oh, I’ve done modern and African dance before. I can just transfer those skills into ballet. Give ‘em a little modification and I’ll be fine. No prob.” (le sigh) Then I cashed in that reality check.
Ballet is quite unique unto itself and requires a great deal of concentration (for me anyway) on so many things at once: posture, carriage, turnout, pointed toes, tucked bottom, straight knees, square pelvis, …wait, are my arms in the right position? And, what’s the pas again? (…) Simple things such as body weight and placement are so completely different in ballet than it is in modern, African, or hip-hop—the forms of dance that I am much more familiar with, and it all must be performed while wearing a cheerful countenance and making it appear effortless. How fun!
Lol. No, seriously, it is fun and I’m enjoying it immensely. Even when I don’t perform all of the movements correctly or my arms are in the wrong position, I can still find joy and beauty in the experience. I appreciate all that my body has done and continues to do for me as I age (yes, I’m at the point where those thoughts creep into my mind). For example, I’m thankful for the strength that comes from my legs AND for the need to focus on toning my thighs to improve my technique. I love the gorgeous lines created by my legs in sous sous (demi pointe) AND I realize the added stress placed on my knees when holding some of these positions.
I’m so very thankful to still have full range of motion and the ability to keep growing. I relish the challenge of using my body in a different way in a mixed-gender dance space that’s overflowing with dancers of all ages and varying body types, ethnicities, abilities, and motivations to explore ballet.
It’s a wonderful, exhilarating feeling.
Marie Claire’s @ChimeForChange video is such a huge inspiration. Not only does it promote positive, effective use of social media to connect women and girls around the world, but it also encourages women and girls to use their voice for change: education, health, justice. Here are some quotes from the video:
Social media is definitely a fantastic door. – Salma Hayek
You can spread messages that lead to a revolution. – Arianna Huffington
Women have a voice; they have a voice that can’t be stopped. – Jada Pinkett Smith
Over the years, the best thing that has happened for me is that I decided to mentor other advocates within the movement to end violence against women and girls, and I chose to be mentored myself by other fierce, thoughtful, influential, and ambitious women. We cannot sustain ourselves within this crisis-oriented and trauma-related work by being an island unto ourselves. I strongly encourage anyone to build professional and personal mentoring relationships that will help nurture their professional progress and growth as a human being.
Having a mentor, or group of mentors, provides space to hear and learn from others that have YOUR best interests at heart; that can teach you new skills; that can expose you to networking opportunities; and that can help you strategize and understand how to navigate the politics of feminist work and movement building. Mentoring someone else helps you realize your own resilience, shows you that you have more to teach and share than maybe you thought you did, and oftentimes, it can help remind you of why you remain committed to this work.
Experiencing a mentor relationship can significantly increase the chance for each of us shine, present our best, do our best, be successful, and experience the desires of our hearts. Seek one out today!