The only reason I’ve had any success in my life is because a woman has helped me.
It started when I called the only person I’d ever met at CBC radio and asked her if I could do a “secret internship” for 2 months. She said yes. She let me in the back door every morning and she showed me the ropes. She introduced me to people. She taught me how to use the editing software. This woman gave a stranger with some guts 2 months of her time and knowledge and now, a decade later, I work as a consistent freelancer with CBC. Thanks Kathleen Flaherty.
The list goes on:
Yoga Teaching: Sjanie McInnis
Documentary making: Yvonne Gall and Karen Levine
Boufoon Training: Karen Hines
Giving Birth: Rachel Rees
Feminism: Claire and Anna and Rape Relief
Feeling grief: Kamaljit Kaur
How to serve a friend: Christina
How to be a responsible, respectful white person of privilege: Quelemia Sparrow and Carmen Aguirre
Getting off drugs: Jan and Linda
How to get more Instagram followers: Toi Smith
How to proofread my shit: Heidi Taylor
All these tools that I now use to pay the bills in my creative life’s work I’ve learned from women who took their time to sit down and mentor me.
So now I pay it back.
Every single person who emails me- I respond to. It might not be within the week and it might be to say “I don’t have the time right now, but try me next month…”
I was supported and now it’s time for me to support – and of course it’s sometimes annoying, and fuck it would be nice to be rolling dolla bills but my overriding mission is to always remain an accessible resource.
That’s feminism in action. I’m here for you. I’ll do my best to help.
Someone boosted me up and now it’s my goddamned pleasure to give you a heave over the chain link fence too.
*Of course there is a caveat to this declaration.
If you are marginalized, or have less power due to patriarchal structures in place or are just emerging in your field – you don’t have to follow the give rule just yet. You need to follow the “ask and take” rule first. You ask and request and bang on doors and pray for as much as you can get your hands on until one day you find yourself in a position of power- and if and when that blessed day comes – then you enter the give camp. It becomes your duty.
It’s a pretty simple equation.
Any social or monetary or political power
+ share with other women.
= New World Order.
David Sedaris (my best friend) writes back to every single person that wrote to him. I know this because I’ve written him 4 times now.
Elizabeth Gilbert hires people to respond to every single Facebook message she gets. A kinda corny way around it but at least she’s trying right? She’s acknowledging that she has power and she wants to remain as personal as humanly possible with her mega fame.
Even when Danielle LaPorte was in the midst of writing her latest book, all strung out on too many speaking gigs and re-writes up the ass – she sat down in a coffee shop for an hour to strategize an upcoming business plan for me. I’ve got it stuck to my wall. Thanks D.
We all came from the bottom and the only reason some of us make it to the middle or the top is because someone else gave us their precious time. And it is precious. And every single person who’s helped me- I remember.
And every single person who’s ignored, or disregarded or ghosted my request or inquiry- I remember you too.
It’s a feminist act- to remain accessible and available and helpful. It’s anti- patriarchy. It’s turning the capitalist system sideways.
Nope. We’re a circle here bitches.
I’m helping a woman, who then helps another and then we all end up helping each other, ‘cause it all comes around.
It’s all coming around.
I’ll always respond to every single person who writes to me (unless he’s a sicko) and when I’m as powerful as all fuck-a-roo, you’ll still get an email back.
‘Cause why else am I here? How else did I get there?’
You. It was you. Your effort. Your wisdom. Your time (which is worth a lot).
And you gave it to me.
And that’s not just an act of kindness; choosing who you give your time to is a radical political statement, it’s anti-establishment, it’s the roots that grow the new tree.
So in thanks and in solidarity, I’ll keep passing it on.
That’s a promise.
ps. My dream is to be in a Muppets movie. This is the exact feeling I want everyone to feel one day and it takes a lot of love to get there.