Monday, February 28, 2011
I never know what my day is going to hold when I get out of bed in the morning or when I turn my computer on, this past Wednesday was no different. In fact I was so busy on both Wednesday when I received the scarf from Charity and on Thursday when I dropped the scarf off at Laura’s that I did not actually meet either woman. I have exchanged e-mails with both ladies in hopes of catching a cup of coffee (or fountain coke) in the near future to get to know them.
When I first saw the scarf I was nervous how I was going to pull off wearing it. My idea of an accessory is wearing a watch. I am about as plain as they come, no make-up, no jewelry (besides my wedding ring) and I usually wear the same 5 or 6 outfits. I have worn scarfs before but nothing as beautiful and colorful as the sisterhood scarf. I was running from one meeting to another when my student worker handed the scarf to me indicating that someone had dropped it off for me and that I would “know what it was.” I threw it over my shoulders and ran to another meeting. During the course of my crazy day I wrapped it around my neck and become much more comfortable and confident sporting the fabulous scarf.
My day with the scarf has reminded me that many of us women don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. I am the mother of four (yes that is not a typo) wonderful children all under the age of 7, have a child with Type I diabetes, work full-time, and have a husband that works full-time (in Cincinnati). People ask me all the time how I do it. Well I do it just like I embraced the scarf, I throw it over my shoulders and keep moving!
I rarely have time to reflect on my life and my day with the scarf and reading the blog has helped remind me that I am not alone in this crazy world, let alone the UD campus. Just remember ladies, whether you are an undergrad or a Dean, black or white, you are not alone. Take some chance, keep moving, and don’t blink, you might miss something or someone!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
I arrived at school and received compliments from the secretaries and several teachers on my team. I was delighted to tell them the story of the sisterhood and the sense of community at UD. One of my kindergarten students even told me that she liked my outfit, a compliment that left me grinning from ear to ear. I spent the day celebrating with the children and reflecting on how much they taught me over the past two months. As I waved goodbye to the buses at the end of the day, it took all that I had to not begin crying, and of course, the scarf.
It seems silly to place so much hope in an article of clothing, but I realize that it's not the scarf that carried me through the day. It was the support of women around campus that I have never met. Knowing that I was taking part in something bigger, something intentional, left me feeling fulfilled on a day when I thought I would fall apart.
Friday, February 25, 2011
How can a scarf, a lone scarf, colored in colors of shades of red and golden color unite and introduce women to each other?
I am not a scarf person so how will I wear this scarf. I struggled with keeping it on the first day, for it was hard to work with it draped around my neck but I discovered it was not how you wore it but why you were wearing it which then led to an incredible experience of unity and sisterhood. This was not what I expected to come from this experience. I am not sure what I thought the scarf would do, but my life was enhanced by wearing this Sisterhood scarf.
I had the pleasure of spending time getting to know two wonderful young women, their interests, their life, their views, and both with charming smiles and attitudes. I had met these young women in passing before and noticed their strength then. I now was able to meet them through this lone scarf. These women almost 20 years younger than myself shared their lives, aspirations, views of life, and just talked about many topics. It makes a person realize how much we are the same as women no matter what our age.
This scarf of wonderful shades of red allowed a bond to be formed that can forever be found in the passing of this simple piece of cloth symbolizing unity. Adding the color of gold intensified the meaning since gold is associated with wealth and prosperity and grandeur. We are now in possession of a bond of unity, wealth, prosperity, and grandeur. We are women as one.
One of my favorite authors is Richard Paul Evans and from his book “The Locket”, I found this excerpt:
“Believe. Believe in your destiny and the star from which it shines. Believe you have been sent from God as a arrow pulled from his own bow.
“It is the single universal trait which the great of this earth have all shared.”
As women we must believe in our own destiny.
Thank you to the sisterhood for being a part of my destiny.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
On Monday I was supposed to receive the scarf from Kathy Webb. Sadly, she had a meeting and could not make it. She did leave me a letter explaining this and telling me more about herself, which I thought was very nice of her. I retired the previous scarf I was wearing and admired the beautiful colors of the scarf of the sisterhood. Since it was a very rainy day and I did not have an umbrella, I wrapped the scarf around my head and headed to class. At this moment I thought that I must look like someone from Muslim decent and I thought it was kind of ironic that people would see me and probably think I practiced my religion. As people saw me pass me, they looked at me. At this moment I started to think what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I feel like we could learn a lot about each other if we did that from time to time; it would help us gain tolerance towards one and others.
I wore the scarf around my neck, and around my waist when I was inside. I have never gotten so many compliments on a scarf before. I tried to tell everyone I could about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf and felt disappointed if someone complimented me on it and I did not tell them about its purpose. On Tuesday, I saw a fellow member of the sisterhood also wearing a scarf. We instantly connected and talked for a little while. I feel that when I got the scarf I was having the most stressful week ever. Its funny how sometimes things can get so out of control. On Wednesday, I had to pass the scarf to the next member of the Sisterhood, Caryl Nunez. When we meet, we shared our stresses of the week and it made me feel better about my current problems. It made me feel at ease knowing that I’m not the only one that is stressed out under such a big workload. Finally, before saying our goodbyes, we noticed that we both were from Spanish speaking countries, so we started speaking in Spanish. To me, it is always amazing when I find someone who can speak my native language, it always makes me feel more at home.
The scarf was only a scarf, the meaningful part of this process is the connections we make with the women that wear the scarf. By meeting each other to pass the scarf along, we make connections that would have never had happened otherwise. I feel honored to have been part of this beautiful Sisterhood. Thank you fellow sisters for making these beautiful connections!
I hope with all my heart that the connections made through this process only get stronger and more powerful. Best to all of you!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I trust all of you are doing fabulous!
I received the scarf last Friday and for reasons quite outside my control, am just now posting this blog. I apologize for the delay.
The scarf and I had a wonderful few days together. I was obliged to talk about Her (and, as a result, this sisterhood on campus) constantly and without hesitation. I received so many inquiries and compliments that I nearly considered wearing a post-it on my forehead so as to substitute for personal explanation. I imagine it would have read something like this: "I am a part of something bigger than myself! Feel free to ask me questions." I found, however that personal explanation was the only way to communicate my feelings.
To me, unity is an indelible aspect of womanhood. As women, we share struggles, pressures, and associate with one another through our natural existence. To be sure, this sense of unity is shared by all humankind but I particularly associate with the label "woman" on a daily basis for it has worked in shaping my perceptions and passionate outlook on life. Until I began explaining the Sisterhood to others, this passion was not quite so evident to me. However, after this experience I learned that unity means more than sharing what you have inside..it is, first and foremost, sharing in and feasting on, what is outside of you. There is a Chinese proverb that, summarized here, sheds light on the constant battle between what is inside us all and what lies outside. The proverb demonstrates that we should not go inside ourselves and hide away but by the same token we cannot seek only the external world. There is a sense of balance that must be struck intentionally in all our lives. For women, this balance is vitally important. We have endured a history of abuses and usurpations that have defined our social roles for centuries.
So my advice to you all is to create that balance in your own life! Share in the beauty of others and hold true to your womanhood for it is a very worthy association.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I wore the scraf on the 16th. Alot of my friends touched it and told me it was pretty. I took that time to tell them about the program and my sisters! They were excited and wished they had heard about it so they could participate. Over all my day was very interesting. I had my first meeting with my new academic advisor. She is a very meek lady named Dr.Zois. She is also a clinical psychology major! Awesome! She was quite over whelmed with my plans. I guess she had never come across a student with such a strick plan to follow in determination to reach my goals. I kept bouncing ideas and time frames off of her. I'm sure I left her with a lot of homework to do! The over all meeting was very helpful! She even introduced me to some of the grad schools, Masters, and Ph.D programs that would be good for me to look into.
My last adventure with the scarf took me to the librabry on the 17th. There I passed the scraf to Mrs.Webb. I must admit I was quiet intimidated when I arrived at her office and seen the Dean sign out front. When I walked in the ladies were very friendly. The secretary asked me did I have an appointment to see Mrs.Webb. I said no and she said what can I help you with? I didn't know what to do so I pulled out the scarf and laid it on the counter. She immediately went to go get Mrs. Webb! That was awesome!!! I did not get to talk to Mrs.Webb for that long but we did learn a bit about each other. She told me she was nervous about writing her blog. I told her not to be, to just write about her day. She asked me about my major and campus involvement. Later, she sent me a wonderful e-mail telling a little more about herself. I can understand that she is a busy lady. I enjoyed reading it and I am excited that she thought enough about me to send it! I sent her an e-mail back introducing myself a little better too.
We share some of the same feelings about being the "only" person in the room. For her, it was being a female in such a high position. For me, it is being a young and multi cultural. I am 17 yrs old and I am mixed with African American, German, Indian,Cuban and a few other things! Maybe there are more of you that share the same feelings. I want every one of my sisters to be encouraged! I want you all to know that it is ok to be the "only" anything in the room. You are setting the path for the people following in your foot steps. You are a positive role model and example! More power to you! I appreciate and support you! :)
I received the scarf from Sierra on Thursday while I was in the middle of a deadline. I did not take the time to sit down with her for a few minutes so I really only got a chance to exchange a few words. I regret that and decided to send her an email instead. In that message I talked a bit about myself and my reasons for volunteering to be part of this project. It felt good to connect...even if only over email.
My scarf day began very early -- my daughter was leaving for a trip and we had to be up by 3:45 a.m. to get her going. Clearly it is going to be a long day! I worked out with Josie, my wonderful student trainer before coming to work. Working out in the early morning is hard for me (I am so not a morning person) but I always feel good on my workout days. As I was getting dressed and wrapping the scarf around my neck I thought that today would be doubly good.
I showed the scarf off to one of my colleagues who will wear it later this month. While we were talking several people came up and complimented me on the scarf. I took the opportunity to tell them about the program and its intention. All through the day I received compliments on the scarf and shared its purpose.
Shared purpose...in the end that is what the scarf represents to me. While I work in a profession that is primarily female, increasingly my interactions on campus are with men. While I respect and admire my campus colleagues, I do occasionally feel a bit like an outsider. Today I had an opportunity to feel like an insider -- part of something bigger than me. Thank you to all the other members of the sisterhood. I do hope we get a chance to come together again to share our experiences. However, whether we meet in person or not, I know I am part of the sisterhood!
Friday, February 18, 2011
So on Wednesday I met with Amber for lunch. When she pulled the scarf out to hand to me I was already awed by it. To many onlookers it was probably an ordinary scarf, a beautiful one no doubt, but just a scarf. To me though it meant something a little more. It was a symbol of my confidence. A sense of myself for the first time reaching out of my shell. And for the rest of that wonderful lunch with Amber, a person that lived in the same building with me but I had never even met until now, I kept thinking about what tomorrow would hold for me.
And around midnight I was hurtling towards a mental meltdown. I had this huge deadline I was afraid I wouldn't make and it just seemed like more and more tasks were being piled onto my Thursday. I finally went to bed around 2 am after working since 7 pm. And when I woke up, the sun was shining and the scarf hung on my wall, waiting. So before I rushed out the door for my first class of the day I snatched the scarf and tossed it around my neck. And for a moment I forgot all the stress.
Through the day I had four classes, a work meeting, a Flyer Radio meeting, and a Phi Beta Chi rush event. Plus, it was my 11 month anniversary with my, as of this year, long distance boyfriend. My day with the scarf was possibly one of the busiest days of my college career. But for the first time since I came to Dayton in August, I felt like I could accomplish it all. And I did. The scarf gave me the confidence to keep going, no matter how tired I was, or stressed, or irritated. It was an emblem of my personal struggle within and on the outside as well. And as I sat down that night I began to think about the many other women who were taking part in this experience. All of their struggles that they had conquered and were still going through. I no longer felt alone.
Not only was I not alone. I had a sisterhood, not just defined by this scarf, but rather every woman I had ever known and will never meet. Being a woman is a sisterhood all on its own. I am a part of the sisterhood of being a woman.
So when I passed the scarf to Gina today I wasn't just passing a scarf; I was passing my experience in life, as well as Amber's. And Gina will continue this string of experiences. A circle will be created. A circle of womanhood, of sisterhood. Of love.
The scarf is a symbol for me of how are lives are meant to connect and be in communion with one another. From my first interaction with Soleil to the passing of the scarf to Brittany, the scarf has connected me to others in a practical intentional way. Amidst our busy lives, we took intentional time to learn more from one another what it means to be a woman and how we share this experience. Soleil and I have connections we didn't know we had. Brittany and I shared our love for our mothers. We shared. We connected.
My daughter was the first person to comment on the scarf. She called me a fancy lady and I interpreted that to mean I am accessory-challenged (which I am)! I loved that she noticed because I was able to share the experience with her, a bond between us.
The scarf brought me closer to two women and a sisterhood my spirit craves. Thank you, Daria, for your passion and energy in creating this program.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I was asked by men and women how my day was going while I wore the scarf. I will share two highlights from my time wearing the scarf. My first highlight was receiving a hug from Jasmine in a sign of solidarity :); she would receive and wear a scarf a little later in the process. My second highlight relates to passing on the scarf to Sierra. It was great to pass along the scarf to Sierra and to see her wearing the scarf the next day!
I look forward to connecting with many other women between now and the closing reception! I know that the scarf will continue to work its' magic, that is, of creating connections!
My scarf and I could not have started this adventure off on a better day! As it was Valentine’s Day I had the chance to match a lovely pair of burgundy wedges, which were only worn for a few hours anyway at my internship. Throughout the day I received many compliments on the scarf and with those conversations I was able to explain the story of the scarf (or rather the beginning of it).
The scarf and I endured quite a Manic Monday. We went on a tour of Miami Valley Hospital (where I volunteer intern in the Foundation office) and worked on a grant for a few hours before heading back to campus for in-depth discussion on racial relations in the U.S. and perceptions of people from diverse backgrounds. I made a pit-stop to Mariam Hall to pick up some delicious chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate that my friend’s mother had thoughtfully prepared for me. Then, my scarf and I headed to Publication Design, where I channeled my inner graphic designer for our first major project. After that, I headed to Literary Theory, where my scarf and I entered a discussion on the concept of the essence of writing and its purpose. I was accompanied home by my scarf where I grabbed a bite to eat before heading off to work at The Emporium. My scarf and I ended our Valentine’s Day with some writing and a few more dark chocolates.
The last full day with the scarf was quite as hectic as the day before. We went to 3 classes: Contemporary Poetry, Africana Literature, and Advance Poetry Workshop. Then headed home to rest up.
On Wednesday morning (February 16), I woke up a little sad, but also quite excited. This was the day that my scarf would get passed on to Christina. We met up at The Blend in the LTC and amid the morning aroma of coffee and baked goods we discussed our experiences on campus and a little more about ourselves. This was by far the most important experience with the scarf. As the Pashmina silk blend sat on the table between us, Christina and I discovered just how much we had in common with one another. That half hour was not enough time by far to delve into everything that we could have talked about. But, it was a beginning, and that is what was so great about it. I felt a connection and shared experience was starting to grow, not only between Christina and myself, but for all of us. And that was truly an encouraging thought.
With my experience with the scarf I came to realize that this was just not my own experience to have, but rather a collective experience: A Sisterhood being created. An experience that I am so thrilled to be a part of and to have as a part of my story as a woman. This is something to be shared – and I think that is the best kind of love and joy to have – something that is shared.
I was hoping someone else would write before me. Even though this program is supposed to connect women and probably in some sense supposed to empower us, I still feel pressure to construct eloquent phrases that pinpoint certain areas of women’s issues and name solutions. So, I assure you this post will do none of that. Now that I’ve released myself from that pressure, I’ll let you know how the scarf and I spent our day.
I picked up the scarf from Brandy and before I even got the chance to wear it, I think the scarf accomplished its purpose. In between the hustle and bustle of our days, in which Brandy’s and I’s path probably never would’ve crossed, we managed to find a few minutes to talk over coffee. We connected over our experiences at UD and I was able to share my experiences in the Masters of Theological studies program, of which she is interested in. Being able to share these experiences outside of my normal classroom and ministry settings was refreshing and invigorating. Before concluding our time together, we talked about the scarf and how we heard about the program. I admitted to Brandy I was already fretting over how to wear the scarf, nervous about upholding this great program and wanting to look somewhat fashionable.
The scarf accompanied me through a long Wednesday and surprisingly made it through without any marks of paint, pen, or random food stain as proof! The scarf took its first tour of campus ministry and sat in on a meeting with some retreat co-directors, in which we talked about the value of servant leadership. We brainstormed conversations and ways to carry out servant leadership through our larger retreat team experience. Our next meeting lead us into more wonderful conversations with students. Conversations about family life, complex issues with friendships, and how to follow one’s vocation all came up amidst topics of the weather, crazy YouTube videos and many bursts of laughter.
Later on, the scarf made an appearance in a graduate school, in the middle of conversations about the holiness of scripture and ecumenism and the Catholic Church. A late dinner and wonderful conversation about deep personal insights and spiritual growth ended my day with the scarf. Although nothing particularly magical happened, this day was certainly a glimpse into my life and reminded me of how much I love where I am at right now. I enjoy encountering students on a deep and personal level, at the same time being able to relate to them in fun ways too. I love working in campus ministry, an environment that challenges me and encourages me to grow both professionally and personally, while giving me the tools and encouragement I need to do so. I enjoy my time as a student, however stressful it may be, because I hope to be a bridge for these theological discussions to enter into my students' daily lives.
And throughout the day, I told people about the scarf as I twirled and twisted it around my neck. I felt as if I was representing something that was larger than myself. And despite fears of letting the program down if I didn’t tie it pretty enough or if I didn’t have some life-changing experience while wearing it, I was excited and proud to be a member of the women of UD. This scarf will certainly meet some incredible women and will have great stories to tell. I am honored to be just one of those stories.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
My day wearing the scarf began like most other days. I got up around 7:45, read for a few minutes, caught up on emails and Twitter then started getting ready for work. However, as I laid out my clothes I faced a small issue. What matches with this green, fuchsia, blue and gold scarf. After three other shirts, I settled on a purple jewel tone shirt that went perfectly with the scarf.
Throughout the day, I thought about what to write about. I hoped something would come to me, something would happen. It was Valentine’s Day after all so something worthy of this space should have occurred. However, in thinking back on the day, in reflecting on where my mind was, I kept coming back to community.
In my time at UD, I’ve found community to be the intersection between the natural college community that forms at most small- and mid-sized colleges and the Marianist values that put meaning and purpose behind that community. After 3 years at UD, I’m always surprised at how much more I come to understand community here. And how much it affects the rest of my life.
In the past couple weeks, amongst the Student Affairs colleagues I connect to on Twitter, there’s been a movement starting. In December, a group of women attending the Women’s Leadership Institute sponsored by ACUI got together to meet colleagues face to face that they only knew virtually. The result, an alliance was formed and WLSalt was created. The women decided that there was a great need to support, affirm, lift and transform women in higher education. The WLSalt community is a growing group of men and women committed to helping women to achieve their best in higher education.
So what does WLSalt have to do with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf? In short, everything. As women, we sometimes put ourselves down, get lost in our own worlds, and never realize how much we need each other. We sometimes forget how much we just need someone to tell us that we’re okay and we’re good at what we do. This project has the ability to support, affirm, lift and transform women on this campus. As the first wearer of scarf #3, I hope this happens.