It's a big deal for me to put myself out as I am and do this community work. I've been a shy, withdrawn person afraid to be visible. However, something inside, like a force, is driving me out of my shell. I am a person with many ideas, always have been--generally shunned by naysayers around me. This is the first time the glass ceiling has completely been removed, and I can just go for it.
Some time ago I provided some important information to a fellow community activist for which she then forwarded onto others. When she did, she made it a point in the forwarded email she sent to a group to credit me. I was moved that she did that for something so small, and I thanked her for her generosity.
At the June 14th PPCC meeting, the chair of the Committee on Climate Adaptation, Mitigation, and Sustainability was giving thanks to all the people on the committee who had contributed so much. And even though I am not on the committee, I have been acting as a resource to them; and he was kind enough to mention me. I was thoroughly surprised. He didn't have to do that. I didn't expect it and would not have been disappointed if he had not, but he did.
These little moments of being acknowledged mean so much to me, having never had people show appreciation to me before. I love the work I do and would do it without the acknowledgment, but it is nice to receive a public thank you.
There are other cases when acknowledgment has not happened and probably never will. It's not personal, just politics. It is hard for me when that happens, but I know it happens to everybody. We moan and groan about it, and then carry on. I could try to chime in and remind people of my contribution, but I prefer to learn to accept these disappointing moments with grace. Acknowledgment is a gift, not an entitlement.
It's hard to remember when you are involved in a project that it's not all about you; and so these moments of being discounted are a reminder of this hard reality. It's a lesson I hope one day to embrace and accept, because it will make life far easier. However, it is human nature to want credit; so it's not something one should beat oneself up over. Acknowledgment is what drives us forward just as it did when we were small children, accomplished something, and then said to our mommies, "Look at me!" I don't think we ever really grow out of that.
Growing up is hard; learning these lessons isn't fun. Maturity and character development don't come without some pain along the way. We resist it, but it's worth the pain when you can look in the mirror and feel proud of the person you are.
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