5 min read

We are the Storm

We are the Storm

International Women’s Day is today and quite a few amazing and opportunistic social posts are bouncing around the CryptoTwitter echo chamber. Everything from engagement posts showing large montages of white women at the top of the “women in web3 clique” to brands trying to show how inclusive they think they are, to authentic posts from women in the trenches and the shadows, truly leading in web3.

I walk through multiple worlds and sit quietly at the intersections of humanity, technology and the mystical— watching these worlds overlap, intertwine and shatter the patriarchal frameworks that have suppressed women for centuries. I just left a deep reiki session with a gifted healer I’ve been working with the past 6 months to help me deal with the ramifications of working in toxic frameworks for too long and, more recently, to help me energetically navigate the sudden departure from the clutches of this patriarchal system.

One mystical event that occurred this summer was the transition from masculine to feminine energy on an astrological, dare I say cosmic, level. You may have felt it or seen this transition and had no words or frames to understand it. All around us, toxic masculinity and those who wield its power to control others were collapsing or lashing out as their power shifted. I watched dear friends lose marriages, jobs, relationships and more during this period and it’s still happening.

And I watched as those I engaged with in the patriarchal framework, who use toxic masculinity to “lead” and wield power over those they are charged with “leading” flounder and react to the energetic shifts occurring in their lives. This transition from masculine to feminine has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with energy and self awareness.

How we nurture, display kindness, engage in compassion, deploy empathy— how we lead from a place of consciousness and service— these are all the beautiful elements of the divine feminine. When coupled with the beautiful elements of the masculine— strength, power, ferocity, tenacity and precession— one becomes unstoppable.

We all posses feminine and the masculine energies. As a GenX who grew up at a time where the masculine dominated in a mostly toxic way, I learned to dance through both worlds with ease. I have my parents to thank for this beautiful reality. My father raised strong women to hold their own in a male dominated world and my mother interjected so much kindness and compassion into us that it’s hard to believe she’s a human and not a saint.

It’s why professionally I’ve always thrived in masculine fields and have managed to succeed on my own terms; dancing through the shadows of both worlds. A yin-yang embodiment of both, it’s how I was raised.

And I know many of the powerful women my age had none of that in their childhoods. I have worked with powerful women over the years who never found the ability to embrace their feminine side. Their trauma, fear, insecurity and lack of self awareness keeps them firmly anchored in toxic masculinity and they wield their power with the same violence and fear that they experienced at the hands of powerful men. I have compassion for the why, but no tolerance for its manifestation in those who have not worked to understand their trauma and continue to perpetuate the cycles of abuse.

I’ve witnessed this for years and never had the proper framework to understand it until my studies at Naropa. I also lived it. I watched in horror as women in roles of leadership scorched the earth and traumatized the people they were charged with caring for. I spoke up. I fought back. I tried to be a beacon of hope or solace for those navigating the trauma. I will always stand against toxic power and protect those impacted by the utter carelessness and inhumanity of another.

But what truly breaks my heart, and what I wish I could fix with my magic wand, is the younger generations behind me who are experiencing this type of toxic, traditional leadership coming from women in their professional environments. I’m seeing it everywhere right now. I see young women of brilliance and beauty being crushed by the patriarchal leadership still managing to thrive in organizational structures across all industries right now.

I know this era is ending and I know these young women will see a more beautiful and meaningful way forward soon. A path in which they no longer fear using their voice, sharing their brilliance and in an environment where their skills and abilities will be supported by the right leadership so they can thrive. I can see it. I can sense it. I know what it looks like for them— but I can’t help them see it because they’ve never known support in a professional setting.

That right there is the most HEARTBREAKING thing I have seen in the corporate world. The sheer snuffing out of someone’s brilliance because the people they report to are incompetent, self absorbed, filled with fear and refuse to let their direct reports rise and step into their own.

One of my greatest joys as a leader is watching my teams thrive and soar as they discover and deploy into their power and agency. Watching them step into uncertainty, push through the fear and produce something truly great is one of the most satisfying things about leadership. The trust and connection I had (and still have) with my colleagues brings me so much joy— I simply can’t comprehend how any leader could not create that relationship with their teams and how they could prevent such a beautiful dynamic from thriving in their work.

What are we doing? How are we allowing people to do this to others? How are we celebrating and promoting those who do such tremendous and lasting damage to our young professionals, especially our women? How do those in the highest roles of leadership at large organizations sleep at night knowing that young minds are being wrecked to support their shareholders, OKRs and ROIs?

My fellow women in roles of leadership— how do we stop this behavior? Seriously, I’m asking. How?

One way is healing our own trauma caused by fighting to find our way in the patriarchal system that is in the final gasps of late stage capitalism, burning our systems to the ground. We heal ourselves and we protect the women behind us. We stand up against the violent forces of the patriarchy to protect those who can not yet protect themselves and we ensure that the new systems we build have been flushed of the toxicity and the inhumanity that brought such a deep separation into every aspect of our lives.

We embrace BOTH our masculine and feminine beauty and we lead— with kindness, compassion and ferocity. We nurture those in our charge and we lift THEM up— not ourselves. Our work now, as we enter our wisdom phases of life, is to guide the next generation through the collapse of these toxic systems and ensure they find their own light, their own path, that embodies that which we did not have when we were young.

We show the women behind us what’s possible when we step into our strength and we shine. We shine that light through the cracks in our systems so they can SEE the path forward. Their path— not ours.

Keep moving forward. Keep fighting against the dark triad in our leadership systems. Keep protecting your ability to be kind and compassionate in a system that views those traits as weaknesses and seeks to destroy you for your goodness.

Keep looking at the path ahead— and keep reaching a hand out to those walking behind you— and guide them towards their own embodiment of kindness and compassion so the generations behind them will never know how hard we had to fight to protect their goodness.

After writing this essay, I wandered over to the indoor vintage flea market and looked for signs from the Universe-- or just some trinkets from my childhood to connect with my past. Almost immediately, I found this simple necklace with the following quote that resonated-- hard.

Fate whispers to the Warrior, "You can not withstand the storm."

The Warrior whispers back, "I AM the storm."