If I were a man, would this be easier? Would I have more resources? More connections? More opportunities? If I were a man, would they listen? Would they return my emails, phone calls, grant applications, partnership applications? If I were a man, would I feel relevant? Would I feel the same rush to get my words out? Would I revel in the space to speak freely without interruption? If I were a man, would this project be funded? Would I be having different conversations? Would I feel more comfortable talking about my fears around sustaining this or would I not even have those fears because I’d be sustained?
It’s hard not to feel deflated. It’s hard to quit a good job as the breadwinner, knowing you can’t ignore this call. It’s hard knowing that even writing this opens a door for critique, because it’s impossible to convey an understanding of my privilege while asking for what I want in a single sentence on a single post when I have a body of work behind these words to give context. It’s hard to keep sending emails, to keep applying for grants, to keep applying for partnerships, to keep asking for help, and not getting responses in return. It’s hard knowing that if you had that fat salary now, you’d do things much differently. It’s hard knowing that if I were born into different circumstances, these might not be my challenges.
It’s hard. It’s not impossible.
Just because there are more women in ads for the outdoors doesn’t mean we are as heavily resourced as men are in this industry. Just because we have more sizes available doesn’t mean the problem is solved. We cannot stop at diversity in our visuals, we need to be looking at diversity in our boardrooms, on our speaker lineups, and most importantly, on how we share resources.
If you need me, I’m over here putting one foot in front of the other toward my future, sharing my story, and doing everything I can to make sure all voices are heard out here in the wild.
Especially those that, historically, haven’t even had access to the room, let alone the microphone.