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For My 61st Birthday, I’m Unlearning

by Tammi Leader Fuller
 ∙ Aug 25 ∙ 5 Min Read

I’m turning 61 today and it’s a big one for me…

Birthdays are pretty huge for many of us these days, as they mark the passage of time when it can otherwise (some days) feel like it’s standing still.

From my newest vantage point, more than 160 days into responding to a global pandemic by keeping isolated…a week into living in a brand new city across the country from where I had relocated a decade (and two reinventions) ago…and a few hours into 61 years old…I am seeing life through new, less rosy, more real glasses.  

Funny that the same year I lost my beloved mom, who was my greatest teacher, it’s been my daughters who have taught me most. They’ve been enlightening me to the white privilege I didn’t even know I was raised under, and are helping me better see and understand what I (and we) didn’t even know was so very wrong with our world and the way we live in it. 

They’re also teaching me what I had once taught them: that we’re never too old to backtrack, write new stories and grow. Wowza. 

As the Founder of Campowerment, for the past seven years, I have been committed to helping women transform their lives, in person and now on this interactive digital playground we’ve created to help people learn, connect and grow. We’ve built an incredible community of purpose-driven people who belong together. Thousands of them. A community we have (many times) called our “Tribe.”

Just this week, I learned it’s time to dump that term, too. And upon reading the rationale, it’s almost bizarre I couldn’t see it before I did

Corinne Rice, an indigenous woman with roots in the Lakota and Mohawk Tribal Nations, reminds that in the U.S., to be associated with a Tribe or Tribal Nation “means you will be a constant target of the U.S. government and oppressed from multiple angles, including the genocide of our ancestors.” Because of that, when “Tribe” is used in the context of a wellness brand (like ours) or as a term for community-building, it indicates a tone deafness and lack of cultural diversity and awareness.  How did we miss that?

 

Life, I am now seeing in technicolor, is as much about unlearning as it is about learning, and we either adapt or accept that the future…and progress…is being defined without us.

The stakes have never been higher. Nor has our power to right what we know (or learn) to be wrong in the world. If change starts at home and home starts inside, then change is an inside job…and it’s SO in our wheelhouse to take on together through this community right here.

As much as we have (and always will) value the opportunity to learn from some of the most studied, practiced and prolific experts, I have to remind you (and me!) that we don’t need to have a Ph.D. in psychology, or a bestseller to our names, to move the needle. We need people like us — like me and you, who care enough to want to propel your own life forward, on purpose, to make shit happen. To take a stand for whatever we believe in — but first!

Before we stand, to sit and listen, learn, collect information, question who is sharing it (and why), consider who it could empower, who it could disempower. Then take a stand. 

So today, on my 61st birthday, under the watchful eyes of my own girls, I’ve got some big “dare-you-to’s” for  my people..the ones (until last week) I called “my Tribe.”

I dare you to (join me to):

  1. Identify one way you spoke or acted (or refrained from acting) in a way that could have harmed another person.
  2. Consider why — what you’ve internalized to be true…
  3. Make it right. Make a donation, share with your closest friends or family to inspire them to do the same. Don’t make it about you — make it about “us” — the collective, the community, whoever the “other” was who you can be a better neighbor to, a better advocate for.
  4. Repeat, often. And stick with it. Until you (and we) work ourselves out of the job and can pivot to the next work we have ahead.

You know I love PLAY as much as the next woman (or even little kid!), but the playground either is safe for everyone or not a place I want to be. May we all have birthdays that allow transformational thinking like this time is allowing my birthday to give me this year. 

I hope you’ll take this gift (a tough one to unwrap) as your own. Let’s create the world we’ve been dreaming about, starting now!

To a bright future…light through the darkness…and growth, growth, growth!

From the campfire & beyond…

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Way-Fun Fact #20
Our founder Tammi Leader Fuller spent 30+ years as a TV producer before rediscovering her true passion: camp culture as a vehicle for growth.