Keynote speaker Danielle M. Parks brought a message of rejuvenation to the ears of the audience. While her message was meant to restore attendees to a more lively state as they move into their season of me, restoration could not happen without addressing the outer façade and inner sanctum of each woman. Parks pushed attendees to realize that while they may find joy in being a super woman for those in their lives, that type of behavior can become the greatest obstacle to not only the season of me, but also the lives of others. For Parks, in order to have a season of me, a super woman has to recognize when to pass the torch, when to teach instead of always doing, and trying not to be everything for everyone. These were just a few examples of circumstances that create a disconnect between our hearts and minds. Parks left the audience with a few words on her upcoming trip to Aruba and how in order to truly have a season of me, doing for others has to take a backseat, your gut reaction to say yes has to be checked, and time away to restore yourself to a whole needs to be taken.
Attendees of the luncheon found themselves renewed through the all too familiar, emotive words of Ms. Charisma Presley in her poem, “Season of Me.” The Assistant Director used an interactive poem, calling on audience participation as she provided a laundry list of grievances she has. Yet all her grievances were justified and more importantly shared amongst every other woman in the audience and I dare say the world over. She encouraged attendees to realize the power of the word “no” and to take measures to prevent the damage stress has on the pillars that keep body and soul steadfast: strength, joy, peace, and love.
You may be asking where is revitalization within all of this. It was not in the raffle and the great prizes. It was not to be found in the poetry or the in awarding of a humble scholarship to two freshmen women. It was certainly not in the food, though I can attest to feeling quite revitalized from eating a slice of cheesecake lovingly covered with cherries, strawberries and syrup. No it was in none of these. It was the entirety of the event from words spoken right down to the choice of many women to wear pastel colors. It was in the faces of each woman in attendance, the solidarity each of them shared bonding across fields, positions, ethnicity, age, and experience.
Having a season of me is not just for women, but the importance of this luncheon was giving women the space they deserve to do so. The people in our society who have to juggle the roles of mother/father, sister, daughter, caregiver, teacher, friend, provider, all the while expected to do so with a willing heart, a smile, no hesitation, and on a daily basis with no compensation deserve more than that. They deserve a season of me and while this may have been the theme just for this year, it is a necessary theme that will remain at the core of the luncheon for years to come. That is what Mrs. Linda Coleman and her dedicated committee recognized as they decided to close the academic year with the encouraging words, “walk into your season of me.”