Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to.
The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.
So what, I’m still a rock star.
Who run the world? Girls.
What am I getting here from Barbara Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Pink, and Beyonce?
I’m getting anthems that tell me I have the power to rise.
This is why I’m drawn to anthems.
This girl is on fire.
Thank you, Alicia Keys. I think so, too.
I found out early in my life that I have a fire in my belly. I also learned along the way that there are a lot of people who will try to extinguish it. And that self-sabotage can do that as well.
In order to stay in that space where I can take surviving to thriving, I access the rousing, uplifting art of others.
Moving from a suburban town to a big city? Turn to Liza or Sinatra.
These little town blues, are melting away. I’m gonna make a brand new start of it.
Want to fill a dance floor with women? Play ‘I Will Survive’ and watch them sing every word with vigor.
We can rise. Maya Angelou reminded us of that, too.
So this begs the question – what am I rising from?
Self-imposed limitations. Societal expectations. Complacency.
In the ebb and flow of freelance life, sometimes we need to be lifted from an ebb. Did I say we? I meant I.
Writer is who I am. Words are my strength, salve, tool, salvation. My power to ground my life in Unfettered Expression is how I rise. Every single time. I have the power to be a widely-read, well-paid opinion writer again and even exceed past successes.
And so when Rebecca Traister says, Fuck objectivity …
And when Oprah Winfrey says it’s my job to make myself whole …
And when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says sitting pretty has never gotten us a better world and that we should buckle up and resolve ourselves for good trouble …
I stop. I listen. I take heed.
Gloria Steinem wrote in her travel memoir that her life was about ‘writing and activism.’ That resonated with me.
When asked how I’d want to be remembered, I wrote that it would go something like this: She turned the fire in her belly into a strong public voice for fairness, joy and purpose.
I have the power to expand my reach by leveraging my contacts, getting more aggressive in my pitching, learning new tools, staying on a bold track. Sometimes freelance life means we feel like we’re operating from a tunnel. We have the power to get out of that restrictive place. We can move through obstacles with grace. We can reach out to colleagues. We can explore with intention.
Right now, in this moment, I am seizing a clarion call to attract and emanate that which is uplifting. I have the power to rise.
But with that comes the power to lift other boats around me. My rise means their rise. I advocate for women. I hire women. I speak to primarily women’s issues.
I have the power to bring them along on my ride, to widen my reach and therefore their reach. This is our time. Donald Trump has seen to that. To resist what is happening in our country is to push through the ‘power over’ dynamic and put in play a ‘power to’ one. Bye, bye, victimhood. Hello, action.
She’s just a girl but she’s on fire.
[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written as a video script for a “Power To” exercise for the #50WomenCan Change the World in Journalism program via Take the Lead, a non-profit that advocates for gender parity in leadership roles. You can also listen to the audio version.]