Yellow Conference 2016 Recap
Before I sat down to fully grasp all of my thoughts from these past few days, I first wanted to read through my recaps from last year. Now as I write this, there are tears blurring my eyes because of how transcendent and applicable the wonder from #yellow2015 was found in #yellow2016 too. Beauty and wonder that I hope that it will even still be true for #yellow2040 or something really far from now but still changing the hearts and shaping the minds of creative women for years to come.
Can I first just say that I have never ever “emceed” or “hosted” an event before and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I felt as though I tapped into a whole different part of myself that I wasn't fully aware existed. There was a certain electric energy about the room in itself and the people buzzing within it that made those two days making announcements about valet and sangria the most fulfilling experience.
I believe that the electricity, the magic swirling within the room came from the understanding that every woman there was there because they knew they had work to do or maybe because we thought we have work to do but aren’t exactly sure what that work is quite yet.
Two days of bringing women like minded women together to celebrate and not compete, to learn and not judge, women who desire to change the world with what they can create. That’s what creatives are when it comes to our core isn’t it? We are fixers, we believe that the world needs more healing, more beauty and so it causes us to create in hopes that we can be the orchestrators of that healing and beauty.
The nerves were high, the excitement even higher.
Women entered into the beautiful DTLA warehouse type venue with the most trendiest vibes and began their GRIT, VALOR and HEART journey. They were greeted by bright posters, beautiful and intentional decor made by Alexis (Shift Collective) and they entered into that world for the next two days and openly welcomed whatever it would bring.
Day one brought powerhouse speaking by world changers like Jessica Ekstrom who brought wisdom about dream chasing and business plans at fourteen. My favorite quote from her chat with us was, “Achieving a dream isn’t crossing a finish line, it’s crossing a border into new territory.”
CJ Casciotta talked about the idea of a movement and the complexity and necessity of “weirdness”. Kirsten Dickerson broke down a SLOW acronym and talked about the not so common of resting and intentionality of living in a moment as an entrepreneur and mother. Jessica Hische, shared some hard truths to the surface about being a new mother and flourishing lettering artist and author and the sticky stereotypes and misogyny that comes with returning back to work after maternity leave. Jedidiah Jenkins in all his whimsy and charismatic nature talked about routine being the killer of time and why he quit his job to take a biking trip across the country to experience life and perspective in the most freeing sense. As a writer myself, he challenged me with a reference to Benjamin Franklin's quote, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Day two was (biasly) really close to my heart. I was able to begin day two with sharing a poetry piece that I had written specifically for Yellow Conference this year and was accompanied by a dance team of beautiful, powerhouse and honestly just really bad ass women ((can I say that?)) choreographed by the magnificent Gigi Torres. I cried a lot this day. The tears just flowed and had a mind of their own. I cried because you take in a lot during those two days, not only about creating and hustling but about who you are and what you’re capable of doing. That’s what I wanted day two to be about ---remind them of their core, their worth as people, as women first and then have that transcend into what they were put on this earth to do.
Elle Luna (my new favorite human) opened the keynote speaking for day two and talked about the shoulds and musts that we are bombarded with everyday as creatives. She brought to attention questions that maybe we didn’t even know we were asking such as: what if I don’t know what my must is? and What if doing what I love doesn’t pay? My favorite part of Elles talk was when she mentioned a comment a friend had said to her about looking for our dreams in reality which I shared on my instagram caption.
Krysta Masciale touched on fear and the unknown and about the power of a brand who owns what they do and who they are. Sweet Tim Harris opened his chat with a dance number and roaring “oh yeahs” his story of a business approach from a disability perspective just encouraged a wave of confidence in what we believe or have been told are limitations. Lastly Alexis Jones (who I have been fangirling over for quite sometime now) closed the two days of goodness out with a raw conversation with the audience from the floor and not the stage about fighting for something that’s bigger than ourselves and dared us to ask the question, why not me?
There was no doubt, that whatever you came for, you walked away with that and so much more. I said it last year and I’ll say it again, it’s like that feeling after summer camp. You get back to home to the familiarity and normality of your rhythm and nothing has changed there but you have, you’re different and life the way it was just doesnt seem like the right way to go. You realize what fire is in your hands and you will do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t go out.
My friends, please don’t let the fire go out. The world needs it so very much.
Take Your Place
Last week at the end of an interview the director said,
I hope you don't mind an organization run by a bunch of woman
I told her no in fact I prefer it
And I thought of all the people who would cringe at the very thoughts of that --
An organization run by a bunch of women
I thought of all the people who still keep telling us to sit down,
be quiet, find our place, to be content with fading into the background
But this -- this is the end of fading into the background
This is where we take our place
At the table
With everyone else
In the board meetings
At the brainstorming, dreaming, creating
Table because that's what we've been made to do
Brainstorm, dream, create, bring into fruition
And run things
And I don't want to get all Beyoncé on you but ladies
It's time we get in formation
It's time we army line into companies that tell us we don't belong there
It's time we show them how dirty these hands are
How much grit are under these nails be cause we do the work too
It's time we write our own business plans
And create foundations that were made only for us
because that's what you do when something doesn't "fit"
You give it a home, a space that was molded exactly for its size
But at the end this this is not about them
This is not about the naysayers
Those still living in the times where
they would gasp at the sight of our pants suits
This is for the magic in your very hands
that you've been terrified to let loose because of how people will view you
Full of herself
The only thing you are full of is the grace
and wonder you were meant to contribute to this world
There is a certain fervor to your valor
There is a certain twinge of irreplaceable in the way that you orchestrate
You are something this world has yet to see but desperately needs
But you are no one woman show
You are no lone woman island
We need each other
We need the collaborating magic we all have so that we can step back
Look at what we've done and realize it's no wonder they've kept us sitting, idle, quiet
Because the moment we realize the lights in these very hands
We were bound to set this world on fire
And what does it mean
When a group of women vow to show up
vow to say yes, give themselves permission to say no
vow to rest, vow to start again
Seek to be inspired and seek to inspire
What do you call it when a group of women declare me too
Raise our hands when someone asks if they have ever felt as if they were not enough
When women admit that our sinks our full of dishes
and our cars look like someone lives in them (because sometimes we do )
And maybe our children are not the cleanest today but at least they are alive
And we struggle pay our bills because we're too busy chasing dreams but at least we are alive
I hope you feel the most alive
The most beautiful when you do the things you love
Do the things that get you out of bed everyday and keep you from falling asleep in the first place
For so long
My identity was wrapped up in student, daughter, intern, friend
Until I attended my first bloom gathering
We walked through the the door
Greeted with warm smiles and cute outfits I wish I could turn into my own rotating closest
And we were asked who we were and what we did
We responded, same answers as always
And then we were asked again
Who are you and what do you do ?
And for the first time
We knew there were parts of us we left hanging in the closest because we were too afraid of what they could mean
We cannot live afraid of the potential booming inside of us
Because one day, that will be the melody someone needed
to wake up the next day
We cannot push Down the girl dancing inside of us urging us to still chase fairy dust and the things that seem bigger than us
Don't let your insecurities be bigger than you
Don't let the voices of negativity be bigger than you
Make them small
Tell them to take a back seat
Show them your hands, the work that you've done
And take your place
At the table
Photos by Caca Santoro