I knew that the Bush Fellowship would be transformational but the pace, increased confidence, and degree of change has been extraordinary.
I can't believe that it's been less than a year. Since becoming a Bush Fellow I've launched an $8M games fund, granted over $50k in playful prototype funding to BIPOC creators, scouted for new opportunities to build a creative technology space for artists in Saint Paul, and also started therapy/coaching to tackle the complex relationships I have with my Mother and Partner. I've always seen myself as a confident and fearless leader, but there's a security in time and opportunity to what's possible upon receiving the Bush Fellowship. I've grown quickly in ways that I would have never imagined, doing more than I could just only a year ago, and faster than ever before.
Perhaps one of the more surprising elements has been the overall progression; how it comes in loops and is never linear. My initial plans were to begin creating content to feel more comfortable and confident, then work on the funds, start therapy, and finally scout for opportunities in 2021. It definitely didn't work that way and I found myself going with where my heart wanted to take me, to spaces that I wanted to explore at the time where it felt best. At first I assumed that I was waffling, perhaps not disciplined enough to focus on a path I laid out for myself but then I accepted it and recognized that it's okay to not walk a straight path.
Along the way, I've also recognized that a by-product of my excitement and energy to tackle all of this work has left me feeling overcommitted. I've said no 5X more than before but the frequency of requests to give keynotes or do talks is higher than usual, especially from communities I support and care about. A strategy I developed that bring me joy while saying no is to recommend another for lovely, paid opportunities. The simple act of lifting as you climb has filled my heart in ways that can't truly be explained.
All of this, and it's only been one year; during a pandemic. I'm looking forward to beginning year two as a Bush Fellow, especially as we slowly move out of lock-down, to continue to grow in ways that I couldn't have imagined. Thank you for the opportunity, time, and confidence that the Fellowship is given me in the most challenging year due to COVID-19.