By Jess Rego on October 28, 2017
I’ve been meaning to write to you all for a while. Much to the frustration of my team I’ve been late with this deadline and while I’d like to say it was because I’ve been super busy the truth is I found it really hard to write this blog.
Although we’ve only gone public with our campaign in the last few weeks we’ve been working on this challenge in some way ever since we first discussed it months ago. And I am excited. I am invigorated and scared and proud all at once. At times it’s overwhelming.
I’ve always been a try-er. I’ve been through several career paths because when an opportunity or challenge falls in my lap I always want to try it out. I believe that you can always go back but the chances to go forward are far more scarce. This means that I’m often surrounded by people with more experience than me and it can very easily lead to imposter syndrome where you look around the table and wonder “what have I done to deserve being here?”
Status Row is like that sometimes. On the physical side of things I have Caroline on one side, the girl is a running machine with abs! Her idea of fun includes cycling hundreds of miles and running on the weekend. On the other side, Suze met us at rock climbing and likes to claim that she “can’t” do the hard routes. However, all the “can’ts” in the world don’t take away from how quickly she progresses week on week. She continues to set incredible challenges for herself and smash them. I, however, have never run more than 10 minutes without feeling as though my life is coming to an end and, while I love rock climbing, I am far better at the gossiping than the actual climbing.
But Jess, physical activity is only part of the challenge!
I hear you, yet at the same time my team are again superheroes. Since the challenge started the girls and I’s group chat has become an endless supply of fundraising ideas, training regimes, strategic discussions and a war on plastic. Bear with me, I’m about to fangirl a little bit.
Caroline: She maintains an impressive running schedule on top of our training regime; balances a full time job with building and maintaining our website and content plan; attends plastic cleanups, researches every aspect of the race, makes connections and still finds time for sleep and her relationship. When will you teach me your secrets, woman?!
Susan: Even during an extremely busy and stressful work conference that she organised she found time to fit in workouts, cover team admin, update everyone and spread the word of plastic pollution! (Look how cute she is in her Plastic Oceans shirt in Dublin) She is always looking out for us and making sure we don’t end up on the wrong side of a tax audit.
I’m so incredibly in awe of my teammates and proud to be sharing in this experience with them. They are the literal embodiment of strong independent women. It just means that even when I’m tired and sore and sick I need to keep pushing to keep up with them.
You’re just being hard on yourself!
That’s probably true. I am hard on myself and I don’t take failure very well (but we’ll explore that rabbit hole another time.) I know there are things I bring to the team. Because of the whole failure thing they’d probably have to pry my cold dead hands off the oars before I admitted defeat. With approximately all of the songs ever written memorised I can be a rowing jukebox when we need entertainment. And I believe in this cause and these women so much that when the rest of the team have their moments of unsureness I will be a one woman shoulder to cry on, drill sergeant and cheer squad. I will bully, cajole and encourage them every step of the way until we make it to Antigua.
Because I have no doubt that we will make it to Antigua. Even if I am an imposter on a boat of superheroes.
You might wonder why I’ve spent the time writing about something so seemingly depressing. Firstly, I will always aim to be honest with you, our supporters, as we go through this journey. Life won’t always be rainbows and you deserve to see the hardships as well as the successes. But also, because while rowing across the Atlantic is a mammoth challenge in and of itself, so is what we’re asking you to do.
The journey of reducing plastic pollution starts in each of our homes and, while there are so many little things we can all do to help, it can be overwhelming at times. You might be sitting there thinking you can’t possibly tackle this problem; that surely one person’s actions don’t make a difference but you aren’t just one person anymore. You’re part of our team. And from one imposter to another, I believe in you, I believe in this team and I believe we can make a difference, together.
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