The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s annual fundraiser Keyholder is back with amazing guests, Lisa Ling and Billie Jean King. (Crazy, I know.) This year’s topic is Changing the Game. I decided to take a deep dive into what changing the game means to yours truly. Read the blog post below and comment your thoughts for your chance to join me at this year’s Keyholder.
Who changed the game for me
Elizabeth Renee Elnora Ingram changed the game for me. There were no big sweeping speeches about me changing the world one day. She never sat me on her lap and told me to be strong, independent, or empowered. Those things were gently, and often quietly, woven into every hour of my upbringing. Just as were treating others with the kindness I want to be treat with and respecting other opinions even if I didn’t agree with them. She taught me these things on the playground at my brother’s baseball practices, during the insatiable silence on the pew during church on Sundays and on weekend trips to the Thrift Store. They were drops in a bucket and I’m certain she doesn’t remember ever changing the game. That’s probably because she was so amazing at it, so nimble, so genuine– that she didn’t even notice.
When the game changed for me
I was twenty-something. I was in my Chevy Sonic that I couldn’t afford, weeping my eyeballs out to my mother on the other end of my iPhone. I had just been fired from my first big-girl-job. I had held the position for three years. It was an Inventory Management role for a medical distributor in Dublin, Ohio. I was hired as a temp and had weaseled my way into a permanent position after only a few weeks. I was delighted with myself, and my friends and family were delighted with me. I had purpose in my life. I woke up at 5am and I bitched about rush hour traffic and I drank coffee and I did my thing. I had an email signature and a cubicle and a salary and a 401(k).
But on that day, I had lost it all.
My purpose. My title. My life, I thought. All I had was my iPhone and a seemingly unconcerned mom on the other end of it. I felt worthless.
That day, in retrospect, was the greatest day of my life. If I had not been fired from that position, I may very well still be inhabiting that same cubicle, addicted to the same garbage coffee, living the most boring, status-quo life of all time. A cycle that a ton of people get sucked into. But I am not “a ton of people.” I’m Kelsea, daughter of Elizabeth Renee Elnora, and my game was about to get changed. (I think Mom knew that was the case all along.)
If my life were a bar graph, that point would be the low before the spike. After that day a lot of soul searching happened. In a matter of two years, I would be making a living doing what I love: writing. I would meet the guy that would introduce me to the love of my life. I would get involved with amazing organizations like The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and Women in Digital. My life would find a new purpose, and it would be far more substantial than a gray cubicle or nasty, free coffee.
Why changing the game matters
I wouldn’t wish the pain I felt getting fired on anyone, (insert ugly crying kimoji) but I wish that come-up on every little girl in the world. Changing the game matters because you, reader of this blog, are not “a ton of people.” You do not have to settle for anything. For status quo, for safe, for normal. You can go get great. And if you don’t have a mom or a major life event to tell you– here’s your sign.
Who changed the game in your life? When did your life game get changed? Why does changing the game matter to you? Comment below for a chance to attend this year’s Keyholder in Columbus, OH featuring Lisa Ling and Billie Jean King with me.