The last week has been spiritually challenging and emotionally draining. Now that I am on the other side of it, I can say that I have grown and learned more than I anticipated. I also have to admit that, contrary to all logic, there was a lot of healing that went on for me this week.
I saw this week how I have been showing up in the newsroom, and I’m pleased with what I see.
The newsroom is dominated by men. There are a couple of other female reporters, but they work in the outlying offices and I am the only female writer who frequents our headquarters. Although I occasionally miss having other women around, I often really enjoy the testosterone-fueled atmosphere.
But this was the first time I had to cover a very real – and very heartbreaking – tragedy at our back door (quite literally – the man who is accused of murder was one of our paper carriers and went in and out of the same door that I use each morning.)
Here’s what I discovered: I have shown up fully as myself since I started working at the newspaper. My editors know that I am good at soft news (human interest stories), so that’s what they give me. I have never tried to pretend that I was tough enough for some of the other beats (particularly courts). When the affidavits started circulating in the newsroom this week, no one even tried to hand it to me. In fact, they commented on how disturbing it was and then said to me, “Don’t read it if you don’t need to.”
And it’s not because I’m female – some of the women from other departments came down and were handed the paperwork without comment.
I’ve never pretended to be more hardened than I am, and I saw the result this week. The people around me know who I am and they respect me. Showing up – and not pretending to be anyone that I’m not – is a skill that I’m still practicing, and I’m extremely gratified to see the results.
I had the opportunity to cover the memorial service for Melissa Jenkins on Friday. I was reminded multiple times by my colleagues and friends that this was the piece that would be clipped out of the paper and saved for her son to read when he is old enough to understand. Just a little pressure! Click here to read the result.