A colleague died a couple days ago. I wasn’t particularly close to this person, but I liked her. We had friendly conversations at networking events and I enjoyed our interactions during continuing ed classes. After seeing her regularly for years, I came to expect her smiling face and helpful demeanor whenever I attended events organized by the accounting professionals group we both belonged to. Almost like her presence was part of a package deal along with the venue, the speaker, and the content. She even joined an in-person event on FaceTime a few months back because she couldn’t be there in-person.
Even though I had come to rely on her attendance, I didn’t really know that much about her. I knew she was married. I knew she was vivacious and had a larger than life air about her. I knew she had a thriving professional practice. I knew she was knowledgeable and helpful to colleagues. But all I really knew about her was surface stuff. Until she died, I didn’t know all the other amazing things she did with her life.
It got me thinking about what people know about me, and she was on my mind as I sat down to write a little self-introduction for a workshop I'm attending this week. Every time I have to write a bio, I always feel like it should be written (at least in part) by someone else. I mostly know what I want to bring to the world, and I recognize some of what I do actually bring to the world, but I don’t see everything. Like anyone else, I miss things. Especially when I’m too close to see something clearly.
For many years I attended the pre-dawn advanced class at my dojo. One of the most impactful experiences I had during those classes was an exercise we did at the end of an otherwise ordinary class. We partnered-up and took turns telling each other something we appreciated about them as a martial artist and something we appreciated about them as a teacher. At least half the things people said to me that day were a total surprise. So I guess there are the things I think are noteworthy about myself and there are things other people take note of.
And that seems perfectly fine. Other people see me through the lens of their own life experience, so one person is bound to resonate with a particular aspect of me that wouldn't even register with someone else. It feels important to consider because it's a direct reflection of how I move through the world. Understanding how people perceive me is one way to understand some of the impact I'm having on the world. Since I want to leave a particular mark on the world, that feedback is highly relevant.
I have been training and teaching martial arts for a long time and its roll in my life has changed and evolved over that time. Since I've got a couple decades of experience under my belt, I want to use my martial arts to help people heal themselves so we can all work to heal the world. I want to empower women, girls, femm, non-binary, trans, and other often overlooked or oppressed humans to inhabit their body as totally their own domain.
I want to use my work to stand in the way of injustice. I want to grow equity in the places where capitalism and colonialism currently have deep, well-established roots. I want to inject my very white, very male, and historically conservative industry with a serum of broader empathy and greater consideration for people other than only the scant few wealthy humans who currently benefit from our societal systems.
I want this weekly written wandering through the many paths in the forest of being human to spread healing and liberating ideas as far as my reach extends. I want to offer a humanizing perspective that invites all of you to reflect on your own position in the world and find those places where you can make a difference. In everything I do, I want to live out my values. I want to be an antidote to the toxins of the world. And I want to inspire others to do the same work.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.