Find Your People

I went to two quite different sessions this afternoon but in a way Find Your People feels like it pulls them together.

Crash and Burn was a searingly honest discussion of what happens when women hit real lows. Rosie Boycott who chaired the panel is an alcoholic, Angie Le Mar had both a physical crisis and a crisis of confidence in her life and Ruby Wax suffered ‘the tsunami of all depressions’ about 4 1/2 years ago. The questions and comments from the audience were stunningly open too and I was so impressed and humbled by the way the women who spoke there talked about such difficult periods in their lives. Stigma had been a theme discussed by the panel and for these women to confront it in front of utter strangers was so brave.

During the conversation with an audience member the phrase Find Your People kept coming up again and again. Rosie Boycott had felt that support from AA, Ruby Wax has launched Black Dog Tribe, a social networking site for people with mental illness and the panel advised an audience member to seek support for the situation she was in. Find your people. One contributor noted that she had found her people and it simply stopped her feeling mad. She wasn’t alone and she wasn’t crazy for feeling what she was feeling. While inner acceptance was also noted as being key to moving on (from striving to thriving as Boycott put it) having support was vital.

Find your people.

In some ways I saw this echoed in the Rally The Troops event. Helping people to connect to other people seems to be what’s driven these women to do what they do. June Sarpong’s WIE venture is about women having a chance to network with powerful women in their fields. Shami Chakrabarti spoke about the need to help people understand their legal and human rights in language that was inclusive and empowered them. Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke of her time as a Paralympian and how she still goes into schools to let girls know how important sport is to their health and how they can achieve anyything in spite of obstacles they may face. Justine Roberts founded Mumsnet on the premise that mothers needed a space to talk to others mothers about anything and everything (an impulse I can relate to as I started my own feminist forum, Sharing Thoughts & Taking Action).

Find your people.

By finding your voice and what you’re passionate about – and Shami Chakrabarti is one of the most passionate speakers I’ve ever seen – you will be connected to others who feel the same way. It’s part of what I love about feminism in the internet age. The community of bloggers and tweeters helps me to discuss issues and challenge my thoughts, as well as find support when I think I’m the only one who feels that way. It’s also the single biggest strength of the WOW Festival itself, bringing women together in particular sessions to talk about a fantastically diverse range of issues.

Find your people.

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2 thoughts on “Find Your People

  1. Pingback: Things I learned this weekend | Women of the World Festival

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