Dream, Girl Update: A Week of Firsts

DG2By Diana Matthews

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]A[/dropcap]s I sit down to write this, my head is swimming with a daunting question: Where do I start?

This Dream, Girl update finds me on the other side of a whirlwind trip to New York City. It was a week of firsts – my first time meeting Erin, the first time she and Komal shared the stage to talk about the film, and the first time I would embed myself in the mission and momentum of our work.

I booked my trip three weeks before Erin and Komal were set to present together at THRIVEinNYC, a conference celebrating female entrepreneurship. It was the first time they would be sharing their story of meeting each other, starting Dream, Girl, and changing their lives forever.

I had to be there.

It was a gut-feeling, a calling that I only get when I know I need to be a part of something. What most people would call irresponsible and impulsive, I chose to see as showing up. After figuring out some short-term logistics, I bought my ticket to the conference, booked my flight and was in one of my favourite cities in the world a few weeks later.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

The last time I was in NYC was when I was 13 and it was sensory overload. I remember feeling like everything was so iconic (because, let’s face it, it is) and was blown away by the sheer scale of Manhattan.

One of the reasons I love New York is because it’s completely immersive (this is also one of the reasons many people hate New York). In other cities there are quiet pockets of space where you can take a breath and rest. Sure, NYC has some quieter areas but for the most part, you’re in it– pounding the pavement, dodging taxis, running to catch the subway and bumping shoulders with thousands of strangers along the way.

You can feel the ambition, hustle and passion in the air. And although I had already been there, this trip in particular felt like I was experiencing the city as an entirely new person.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

Komal and Erin invited me to join them to check out venues for the Dream, Girl world premiere. I instantly became that emoji who has the hearts for eyes and couldn’t believe that this is what I was going to do on my first day in New York.

I would also be meeting Erin for the first time and my stomach kept flip flopping between the excitement of seeing her and our itinerary for the day.

We met in a hotel lobby on the Lower East Side that was undergoing major renovations. Amidst plastic construction tarps and a grinding symphony of drills, saws and workers yelling at one another, Erin, Komal and I sat next to one another with the biggest grins on our faces.

Our day led us from the Lower East Side, to Midtown, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My heart was so full–I couldn’t believe I was in this place, with these incredible women.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]F[/dropcap]lying high from endorphins, I went to the conference the next day and watched Erin and Komal knock it out of the park. It was nothing short of inspiring to witness the love between them and hear the story of how they brought this incredible project to life.

It was a remarkable weekend. But the real power of it came from connecting with our audience. These are the women who are going to take Dream, Girl and run with it, bringing the film into their living rooms, hosting screenings for their communities, teams and companies.

Our network is comprised of passionately supportive leaders who inherently understand the power of the female economy because they are a part of it. It was a tremendous experience to hear their stories, exchange business cards, laugh over lunch and know that the connections we made are going to go above and beyond that room, that conference or that weekend.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

As our team shifts gears into planning for our premiere on June 9th, the momentum propelling us forward is tangible. But taking the ideas and concepts from the conference and employing them into my day-to-day is something I’m still grappling with.

Coming back from a week that held so much newness, emotion and abundance also has me feeling slightly overwhelmed. It’s a feeling I’m very familiar with– anxiety about next steps, plagued by ‘shoulds’ and doubts, and fear that I’m not going to be able to achieve the goals we have for the future.

It’s made writing this update very difficult for me.

I have a small toolbox of YouTube videos, quotes and people I draw from to work through these feelings. One of these resources is Courtney Martin, who named this exact experience in a TEDTalk five years ago:

"The mainstream media often paints my generation as apathetic, and I think it's much more accurate to say we are deeply overwhelmed." -Courtney Martin

While the sense of overwhelm she’s describing may not pertain directly to the impostery anxiety, she articulates the feelings many people have who are looking to inspire change in their communities, and by extension, the world.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]W[/dropcap]hen you’re planning for abundance and struggling with worthiness, it’s easy to let fear take over and turn positivity into anxiety. But after seeing the faces, shaking the hands and having the conversations with the women who are already helping us make our dreams a reality by embracing the strength and momentum of the Dream, Girl movement, I feel so grounded and grateful to be able to do this work.

Martin’s advice is to embrace the overwhelm. And in order to do this, we must take the reigns back from fear. A big part of that process is admitting that we ARE overwhelmed in the first place.

And that’s okay.

Because as the work continues, so too do the connections– the emails, Facebook messages and phone calls that all say, “Keep going.”

I’m embracing the overwhelm to show up for all of the amazing firsts that are coming along the way.