10 days

It's 10 days since I started this blog and two weeks since I decided to run for the Board of Education. It's already been harder than I want it to be, and my thick skin is apparently on backorder. I'm hoping for a shipment to arrive any day now with my name on it.

I've already learned a lot. I've learned a lesson in communication skills - men definitely communicate differently than women do. An apparently well-meaning friend had heard things he didn't like and called me "to talk about it" but I came away feeling something between indirectly threatened and directly bullied. I cried hard for an hour. A few days later, a different male friend explained that the caller probably thought he was guiding me on local politics, but I was in a daze for days.

How did I get over it?  I ran a 10K! In 1 hour and 42 seconds. That's a 9:46 minute mile over about 6.5 miles. I hadn't ever done anything like that before - not a 5K, not even a timed relay race since grade school. I'm still in disbelief. I don't consider myself an athlete, or even a runner. I don't dare jog with friends who I think are - and I managed THIS!

And that is how I am thinking about this election. The odds are against me, but I'm not afraid to try. There are 5 candidates for 2 seats, including the 2 incumbents. The other two women running are both connected to the district: one is a former math supervisor and the other is a former board of ed member - meaning that one could easily argue that I am the candidate with the least relevant experience. But I have the experience of being in schools on a near-daily basis for 8 years. I can give you perspective from teachers, students and parents on many issues because I listen... do they?

One constant that has been with me since the moment I finally decided to run. The empowerment I've felt from the women (and a few good men) around me. I never cease to be amazed by my friends. One friend stood up for me in a venue where it would have been much easier to say nothing. When they were saying bad things about me, she retorted with "I've never heard Soccer Mom say anything like that!" It didn't sway them, but it really meant something to me! The peer pressure would have been strong, I'm sure for her to agree with the others. Another friend gave me strategies for dealing with difficult parents (for future use). Another just let me cry and sided with me. Other friends have come, unsolicited, and said they want to put up signs on their yards. Still others have just cheered me on every single day. Outrageous empowerment fueled by caring friends. I'm so fortunate to have all these people - and so many more - in my life.

My desire to do this started even before this blog, but the impetus to run this year came from losing El. Had I not gotten the reminder that life is brutally short, I would not have dared try. She was never one to hide her feelings. I feel passionately about the schools. The election pushes me beyond my comfort zone, and I haven't had a really good night sleep in days. It's OK to feel anxiety if you believe in something. I believe that I am the candidate who has to best idea of what is really going on in the schools, and the most insight to parents' concerns. The question is, how many voters can I convince of this between now and April 27th? Time will show. If nothing else, this experience has already taught me so much. And I'm sure I'll learn much more in the weeks to come.

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