To Be Continued

In this space for the past month — Women’s History Month — you met 15 women from across the U.S. and around the world. You heard the voices of artists and writers and students and nurses and designers. You read stories and experiences and perspectives, some of which were very different from your own.

And it was just the beginning…

I had planned for this series to span the month of March, but it’s been so powerful, I’ve decided to continue publishing these stories with no end date in sight. Not at the same every-other-day frequency, but one or two a month, whenever I have one ready.

I have a “future queue” of women I’d like to feature in future VOICES interviews. Fourteen names listed so far, and three of those women are already working on their interviews!

If you know a woman you’d like to see profiled in the VOICES Series, please let me know. Even (or especially) if that woman is you! You can leave a comment below, or message me privately on LinkedIn or Instagram.

As a writer, I know the power of stories. I’ve been telling them, large and small, for most of my life. Stories can be used to sell products, convert the masses, or slick a veneer of humanity over the face of a corporation. As a copywriter, collecting checks from capitalists, I’ve done all of that.

But in this space, for the last 31 days, I wanted stories to take up a different kind of space. A space in which we all arrive simply as human beings, leaving the personal agendas and marketing strategies behind. A space where some of us share, and the rest of us just listen.

I sincerely believe that stories change the world — stories of real people, passed from hand to hand. Stories that say, “this is how it was for me.”
Stories like these:

“I grew up in central Florida. I grew up in the north of Crimea. I was raised on Long Island. I come from a small quiet town. I grew up in a family of six.”

“I am second generation. I am bisexual. I am an immigrant. I am an introvert. I am a teenager. I am a grandmother. I am a Democratic Socialist. I am a perfectionist. My journey started with a heartbreak.”

“My family was intensely creative. My family was loud and chaotic. My family was conservative Mennonite. My family was Appalachian coal miner types. I was raised by my grandmother. My mom was a single mom.”

“I was taught that women are the ones who cook and clean. I thought all women were highly driven and outspoken. I knew that women should dress modestly. I believed that women are strong and capable people. I thought women were supposed to get married and have children. I didn’t know any women who had a career. Women were where the buck stopped.

“I was afraid of swimming. I was afraid of my unmedicated feelings. I am scared of not being good enough. I’m afraid of looking dumb. I was scared to be queer in that community. I have feared that the things that make me different aren’t fully welcome.”

“I want to sing. I want to give thanks. I want to help others find their purpose. I want to bring healing to hurting hearts. I want to amplify the voices of marginalized communities. My voice is still developing, but I am sure it will become stronger. I want to speak nothing but facts 100%.”

“We all have the power to inspire one another. We can always choose love. Nobody can sing your song. So sing, girl. Sing!”

My editorial calendar

I’ve been developing this series since last November, and it’s been an epic journey. I have so many people to thank for helping me bring it to life.

Michelle Morrison: She was the first person I spoke to about the idea of this series, and she cheered me on every step of the way.

Marianna Nam and Amanda Miller: These two helped me get things organized in the very beginning, when the series had a different form.

Kelly Galeano Arce: Not only did Kelly allow me to feature her personal story in this series, she also designed the gorgeous logo/lockup for VOICES.

Christy Parent: A former English teacher with an eagle eye for detail (like commas hanging around outside of quotation marks), my friend Christy volunteered to edit every single one of these profiles. She caught so many small errors that I didn’t even see, and everything reads better because of her.

But most of all, I want to thank the 15 women who participated in the VOICES Series. Some of you knew me already; some of you had no idea what you were in for. Thank you for trusting me with your stories. I am honored and grateful for all of you — your words, your hearts, your brilliant and unforgettable voices. Thank you.

Reader. Writer. Hangnail biter. @wordsbyladonna

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