As I neared my thirtieth birthday, I was struck by an urge to record some of the great, small, and most important lessons I learned in my first three decades. This blog series is the result of four months of discernment and reflection, and is written from my own experiences as seen through my own eyes and as felt through my own soul. I will post one lesson per day for the next thirty days! There are six thematic sections roughly ordered from least to most important in my life: On Work, On Leadership, On Faith & Religion, On Life, On Being Me, and On Everything. Though these posts are not meant to explicitly inspire or instruct, I hope that people can find inspiration and new truth as it relates to their own lives and experiences.
As with any work of retrospective reflection, this work is inherently incomplete. In each section, there are lessons with accompanying stories, musings, impressions, and personal philosophies. As a whole, I see these thirty lessons, learnings, and leadings as a reasonable summation of who I am and a good start to the message I was put on this earth to deliver, at least for now. You are urged to take what you need and share what you take.
With love and gratitude,
Who Am I?
I am a daughter and a sister, a girlfriend and a friend. I am Tall Pines Road's former Backwoods Fort President and a devoted James Taylor fan. I am a nonprofit leader whose professional mission is to ensure that the people, programs, and systems that touch the lives of young people are of the highest quality possible. I am a leader and a server, a creator and a dreamer. I am a builder of opportunity bridges and an advocate for equity and justice for all. I trust, above all, in the goodness of people and the power of love to create personal and community change. I am "Mom" to some, "Professor" to others, and "Rissy Roo" to those who have known me the longest. I am an independent-thinker who avoids partisanship at all costs, a challenger of the status quo, and an asker of many questions. I am unafraid, kind, opinionated, emotional, and compassionate. I am a Badgley. I am me.
Where Am I From?
People often ask me where I come from--
With an emphasis on “where” as if they
Couldn’t possibly comprehend it--
And they can’t.
I’m from a bubble of liberal lilacs and love,
Where forests and mountains and mud-fights and worms,
Filled up my soul like the laughter filled the neighborhood woods.
Nothing could touch me.
I’m from Quakers and peace testimonies,
Prisons, prophets, privilege, and perfectionism,
From dancing on Pop-Pop’s feet--
The roots to everything that is me and all that will be.
I’m from hands in the cookie dough,
Kneading answers and Truth.
I’m from the bubble that popped when I was permitted to open my eyes.
I’m from arches and Amish country and America at its birth.
I’m from “Sweet Baby James,” “Unforgettable,” and blue French horns.
I’m from isolation turned integration turned enlightenment,
Learning how to see and hear and feel,
More than I could have ever comprehended.
I’m from ripped up suicide notes turned into college dreams--
I am from the LAUNCHers and they are from me.
I’m from slaveowners and slaves, rich and poor, Christians and Jews, cities and rolling hills.
I’m from that of God in everyone,
From faith that transcends reality.
I’m from rock and roll tours and star-crossed lovers,
From Huguenots and Diplomats,
From ministers and businessmen,
From being born and living life,
And finding comfort in who I am,
I’m not always from
Where others think
I should be from.