My father committed suicide when I was 6. One of the ONLY things I remember about his was the big turquoise ring that he wore on his hand. My mother had bought him that ring in the 1970s. Years later I asked her if he had been buried in it. She said no and then went to the person she had given it to and asked for it back. She surprised me with it the next day.
In January of this year I thought I had lost my ring and I was devastated. I even called my cousin Steven who is a jeweler on the Navajo Nation and asked him to make me a new one.
This weekend I spoke at the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers annual conference. On Saturday morning I woke up and swiped through the suitcase pocket that had my make up in it and pulled out my dads ring. (CUE SOBBING)
My father has always taken me down the right road. When I lived in Utah he would go 4 wheeling with me in my Jeep.
The minute I leave the pavement I remove my seat belt and lean forward in glorious anticipation, barely breathing as I climb hills and boulders searching the edge of my hood as I take drop after precipitous drop. I feel my dead father’s steady hand on my shoulder, gripping me with giddy anticipation. His presence is so real I glance in the rearview mirror and imagine his smiling face into being.
Finding that ring two days ago was my sign to keep going. It was my sign I am on the right path. I reminded me that in my most imperfect moments I know what I am talking about.
Telling our stories is what makes all the difference in advocacy. We are not all one identity. We are a beautiful prism with many different facets. Our willingness to be imperfect activists while speaking our absolute truths is what helps us create space to come together in the places where our lives intersect.
We are the vehicles of love, grace, compassion, passion and awesomeness! Embrace your vision of social justice. What does it look like? Write it down. Define it. Tell people about it. Give birth to it. GET MESSY IN IT!
Get on the road. Cause some mayhem. Raise some hell.
Love, Dr. Melissa Bird
P.S. I love helping women do kick ass stuff in their communities. I love igniting their passion and helping them create a life of badass change. If you are looking for 1:1 coaching then send me an email today and let’s get started!
“She straps a parachute on you, teaches you how to pull the string, looks you straight in the eyes, and away you go! Melissa Bird is a brilliant woman who articulates masterfully with her heart, mind, and soul. She selflessly guides you to the answers that are already within. Then, without fan fare, her powerful affirmation evaporates any tentativeness and you are left with rock solid confidence. No one walks away from Melissa – you float.” Michelle D.