Red Boots: On the Same Team

(This post comes in from Lisa Gray who is heading up the Red Boot Coalition in Minnesota.)

“Hey, we’re all on the same team!”

This was some sage advice given to me by my husband years ago in some long forgotten disagreement early on in our marriage. I was hell-bent on being right and this stopped me. He freely admits this advice has bit him in his backside more than once, but still it rings true.

Now is the time to say I have never been on a team of any kind. I never developed the body confidence at that crucial tweenage so consequently I never developed the skills for athletic teams and so sports teams have never ever been my thing.

But now that I have a family and I have tiptoed into advocacy work and I have started two Red Boot Meetings in Winona, MN I have become fixated on this phrase. What does being on the same team mean to my family? To my workplace? To those of us willing to become engaged in Red Boot conversations?

In last week’s Saturday morning meeting, we were discussing Step 5: We are open.  I had written a blog piece about parenthood and technology and how we have become inundated with what is right and wrong and millions of people are at our disposal to cast judgments on our choices should we choose to speak up about them.  A group member had read it and it spoke to her.

It was the choice part that got to her. It is a free country. It is a place where we do get to make decisions based on what is right for ourselves, but if we partake of this media world it becomes increasingly difficult to be open without repercussions. How can we share our fears and uncertainties without the worry of being ripped apart?

This woman went on to describe how the media doesn’t allow for the center of the bell curve. We hear this on the left and that on the right, but those of us dwelling in the middle rarely get space.

This lead to a challenging discussion about staying open rather than shutting down. It lead to wondering out loud, “If I don’t say this, who will?”  And in doing so we held a safe space for her openness and her fear.

Which brings me to why I like this philosophy of being on the same team, especially as it applies to choosing to participate in a Red Boot conversation. If you make it through the door to any one meeting it means you have showed up. You are willing. You are open in spite of your fears. In fact, your fears are welcome.

I felt honored and humbled to witness someone laying open their very real fear.

I believe we simply cannot let our fears quiet us because they are ultimately what hold us together. Our imperfections, our uncertainties, our “I just don’t know what to do!” moments are our glue and our stardust. When we gather together to reveal our hearts, we are holding tight and garnering strength in the exact moment when we let go. And this is the real power of any Red
Boot meeting.

I have, at long last, finally found my team.