This past week I flew to Houston, Texas and attended the Creating Change conference of 2014. It was my first time attending and I definitely believe it was well worth it.
Let me just start by saying my attendance almost didn't happen. Thanks to Snowpacalypse Jr. I missed my first flight. Not only that but the lovely people that were getting me there were trapped in Atlanta for the same reason. But once I got there the education began.
I had the impression that I would learn information about networking, activism, and get a general understanding of how to make things happen back home in Chattanooga. I definitely got all of that. But I also got a better understanding of myself and revelation of what life is like for others like myself.
As I've stated in one of my previous posts, I didn't always like what I saw in the mirror. I suffered depression and felt a distinct feeling of isolation. With every session and workshop that I attended that was a resounding sentiment that kept recurring.
(Mental health and mental care have been given such a stigma in our culture. No one wants to talk about it. No one wants to be tested. No one wants to seek help. No one wants to seem "weak". )
It never occurred to me until this conference that I needed to congratulate myself on doing the things that make me...me. I've never had the notion of congratulating myself on doing the things that have kept me here. I've always given others the necessary shout outs for helping me get through rough moments. But I've never given myself the shout out. I've never thought about the brilliancy and beauty of my mind and soul that kept me here.
There was a session I went to that focused on liberation. Which is the one thing I didn't know I needed but once it was revealed to me I realized it was everything I needed.
I'm already taking selfies of myself to give myself the confidence. But this session helped me see the second part of what I need to do. Take the control back that I let people have over me. Take the power back that I've given to people because I want others to be happy.
It's okay to want other people to be happy. Just like it's okay to want and demand happiness for myself. Because I deserve it. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be proud of the things that make me happy.
I deserve to be free from the self punishing mentality that I often put myself in.
I deserve to be free from the limitations that society puts me in.
I deserve to be free.
That's what I'm taking away from Creating Change 2014.
Next time I go (which will happen without a doubt...) I want to see more of this. I want to see more liberation. I want to see more brown faces. I want to see change happening while I'm there and not just when we leave. I want to see less lectures and more interactive training sessions. I want to do all the things that are important to me. I don't want to have to choose between one subject and the next. I want more combinations.
I want more change.