Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Women Writers, Ambition, and Integrity

In team sports, you know who’s on your team and who the competition is…one hopes. In the arts it’s not always as clear.

I am loving my integrity today. I am ambitious, but I have a deep commitment to balance that with honoring my relationships, particularly with other women authors. So I was working with a colleague on a creative opportunity that started out 50/50, until the folks in charge asked me to take the lead, and get more visibility and more credit that we originally expected.  For about 24 hours, I was sort of in a fog. I felt uncomfortable with the change, but I liked the idea.  But when they sent a follow up email, I snapped out of it. I sent the other woman writer a very direct email: hey girl, this is what we had originally talked about, this is what they are suggesting now. I didn’t lie, I was like, hell yeah, I would like that visibility & credit. But only if it’s cool with you.

I feel good, because I honored my desires – I told her that I wanted what they were offering. But I also honored our relationship. We had gone into this as a team, and I wouldn’t feel right about changing the plan without her blessing. I don’t want to achieve my goals only to find that I’ve alienated the women who matter most to me.

I think, as women, we are conditioned to either backstab each other to get ahead or be ambivalent about our desires.  We are taught to say things like…”oh gosh, they’ve asked me to cut a solo track on the album, but I just don’t know. What do you think? Should I do it?”

I don’t need permission from my colleague to want this. I just need permission from her to go after it. Funny how anxious I felt before I sent the email, and how calm I feel after sending it. I’ve clarified my position. No hidden agendas. I win either way.



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This entry was posted on April 11, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

Upcoming Appearances

  • LitQuake - Lit by the Lake October 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Oakland Public Library, 125 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612, USA Five East Bay authors read from their newly published books in this after-hours event at Oakland’s Main Library. Enjoy a glass of wine, make new friends, and hear from Aya de Leon, Meredith Jaeger, Elizabeth Rosner, Shanthi Sekaran, and Arisa White. FREE https://litquake2017.sched.com/event/BK1s/lit-by-the-lake

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