Last month, I mentioned that February 13th marked ten years of blogging. I want to share some thoughts I have about the future direction of the blog.
Over the years people have asked me "what is your blog about?" This is a question I dread because I never have an answer. Sometimes I say it is about me and other times I say it is about education and the environment or about a lot of things.
Last year, I took one of the tools learned in my schooling and applied it to the blog. I did a basic analysis of my writing and grouped together themes. It turns out that what I was telling everyone was true. The blog is about me, education, the environment, personal development, and a lot of other things. At the root of all my writing is the theme of transformation and growth. Most of my writing stems from my personal experiences and my desire to share how I use those experiences to grow or transform. The blog is essentially about me, but my experiences are not unique to just me. There are people out there that might share characteristics that I hold: INTJ, first generation Haitian-American, Black, woman (she/her), college educated, library promoter, New Yorker/Long Islander, environmentalist, problem solver, sister, daughter, niece, friend, and more. These characteristics inform my writing and topics that I talk about.
While most of you do not share every single one of these characteristics with me, we do share the common desire to grow. We are growth-oriented and ambitious people who are open to learning new things. Brene Brown in her work on shame and vulnerability talks about how empathy allows us to understand the experiences of others. For example, if I share that I am stressed about graduating from my PhD program, you might not have a PhD, but you might be able to tap into feelings of nervousness or stress that you have felt in another situation. My stress is an unique situation to me, but you are able to empathize and understand. This is why many of you read or share these writings; we all share emotions and desires.
Even though I have the belief that you are an open minded group, I still was a little nervous about sending out this newsletter, so I consulted with several friends about what I was going to write.
One friend made this comment:
"You’ve had the blog for 10 years now, no excuses as to why you cannot succinctly describe your blog. Let that be a goal for this coming month… I agree that we are constantly evolving and growing but at which point do we attain self-satisfaction with all that we have done and accomplished. Oft times we focus on the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly that we forget we have grown the wings and need to fly! As you continue to grow I think it’s important for you to acknowledge your milestones and perhaps include some milestones into your blog writing to assess the progress (for lack of a better phrase). Much like yourself the people that read the blog will need to know when they have transformed or whatever has been completed or changed."
Another friend said:
"Who is Lisa? It might be helpful to do a strengths assessment."
Another friend said:
"There are a few parts where I felt I wanted more…how your experiences are applicable to everyone else. It's implied here…"
My sister said:
"No, that's not too bold…You should say what you want no matter what. If that turns people away then whatever."
I am grateful for people who just tell it to me straight and give me great feedback. I always shy away from categorizing the blog, but there comes a point when it's time "to fly".
Many of you have followed my writing from its humble beginnings in 2009 to now. Every few years I talk about changes to the blog and often times those changes align with what's going on in my life. For the next phase, I would like to continue writing under the broad theme of transformation and growth. However, I would like to add in the dynamic of people and place.
Inspired by my dissertation work, I want to understand how people change places over time. Which people? Well, for the most part my writing and ideas stem from my experiences, so I'm mostly talking about how a Black woman can change a place. What places? I'm in love with Toni Cade Bambara's quote that the "revolution begins with the self, in the self," I talk about that in the blog post about where power resides. The places that I think about are the self, home, school, work, and nature. What time? All of time; the past informs the present and the future.
My future blog posts will focus on the question of how do Black women change places and grow. This direction allows for the exploration of power and access in relation to the various places Black women operate. Right now, I'm focused on self-exploration and self-healing as starting points for personal growth in Black women.
I want to serve as a leadership and mentoring resource. My first mission is to connect 1000 growth-oriented Black women to information that helps them change the places that they occupy. Think of it as a framework for moving #CollectivelyUpward.
Thinking about milestones and progress, the following five areas are objectives to shoot for.
- Access to resources for upward mobility for the self, family, and community.
- Income generated through physical and intellectual property.
- Boundaries in place to lead a fulfilled life.
- Love and heal the self.
- Honor the environment.
These objectives can be measured by reaching milestones like:
- A new law, rule, policy, program, etc is implemented in a place.
- Behaviors, mindsets, values, and norms shift.
- Embracing personal power and identity.
- Comfortable with self and acknowledging accomplishments.
- A switch to one or more sustainable or environmentally friendly practice.
The values that guide this work are:
This is a rough draft of the future framework of the blog. Once I have it all cleaned up, I will create an updated about page and write a post about what I mean when I say collectively upward.
As always, the website continues to remain a sponsor and ad-free space. In terms of medium, I want to push myself past my comfort zone and creatively explore different ways to share my ideas. The writing that I share through blog posts and newsletters will continue, but I'm exploring in-person workshops, audio, and video.
I'm excited to continue growing and I'm grateful that you continue to read and share the work I write.
I'm always open to ideas, comments, or suggestions. Feel free to hit reply and share your thoughts on my vision for the next 10 years. Feel free to share your vision for the next 10 years as well.