I used to have these little daydreams that this incredible, powerful, well-connected, confident, loving, helpful, Julie-infatuated woman would show up and be my mentor. She would tell me everything that I needed to know, she would introduce me to people I needed to know, she would burst me on to the scene.
Hmmm….well, she never actually showed up. Not in the form I thought she would, anyway. She shows up in a lot of different people. Advice from colleagues, the support of my dad, how-to articles that inevitably make their way into my browser at exactly the right time. I think, for a little while, I waited around for her. I just sat there – waiting. And then, I got off my ass and became her. I don’t think it was a conscious decision. In fact, I’m just realizing it as I write. I got to a point where I had no choice but to do it myself. Everything else just fell into place. This patchwork mentorship happens on a daily basis – I find everything I need to know, I find the people I need to know, I burst myself onto the scene.
And while I try not to vilify myself for my weakness, I still wish for Her some days. So I am her for other people (as best as I can be). When the opportunity arises to give back, to guide, to make someone’s way a bit smoother – I’m there. I’m part of their piecework. Does that all encompassing mentor exist? I’m sure, I mean, I’ve heard tell. But now – I’m thinking, She doesn’t necessarily have to be. I’ve learned that I can hold my own hand, all by myself.