Beckett Gladney is Boldly Me’s Print Media and Publications gal. We are honored that she is sharing her personal story about self esteem, personal growth, and why she believes in Boldly Me:
I’ve been doing art and photography for awhile with the non-profit Boldly Me, who have the stated purpose of building self esteem and public awareness for those who feel different. They hold classes and events and provide support and encouragement for anyone, really.
Though it originally started as a support structure for people with physical differences who needed support and a place where they could just be themselves and fit in, lots of people kept asking if they could join even if they didn’t have any obvious differences, if they just felt different on the inside and felt like they didn’t fit in. So Boldly Me became more broadly inclusive. It’s been growing by leaps and bounds since it started about a year and a half ago.
I first got pulled in because I’ve known Alanna, the founder and leader, for years; our boys are good friends and we’ve known each other at least 10 years. When she first started talking about her dream a fair number of years ago now, I tried to encourage her. Alanna has always been a Person Who Gets Things Done, and once she decided to go for it with Boldly Me, of course it took off.
I’ll be their Program Manager for Print Media and Publications, along with being their pet photographer and general artist. Someone called it being their ‘Media Goddess’ which I rather like. 🙂 It’s a great group of folks and a good organization, so I feel like I’ve landed in a really fortunate situation work-wise.
I’ve never really worked for a non-profit group before, in a situation where I believed in the work and the cause, so it’s a new experience to me, and a positive one. I always figured I had a good work ethic before, doing my best to do good work because I felt like it was the right thing to do and I wanted to be proud of the work that I produced, but this work, being for a cause and a purpose I find worthy of respect, adds a different kind of satisfaction to the actual work.
I still strive to do the best job I can, but it’s been very rare in a job situation to be valued for my opinions and viewpoints as a contributing member to the core values of the group, not just as a hired graphics wrist. My duties are more diverse and involved in helping shape what the organization does and how it accomplishes that, though I am hesitant to say that because it feels so strange to realize that I will be having an impact from within the group. So that’s a very good thing.
This new development has had the odd effect of making me realize how much I’ve been holding myself back in work I’ve been doing; being hired to design logos or do graphics work is fine, but it’s very easy to just do the job and not get invested in who or what it’s for. Most of the paying work I’ve done in the last few years has been for things I didn’t really care about, honestly.
It made it easier to focus on family, for one thing; most companies now demand your life be at work and I had already decided that wasn’t where my priorities were, so forget that. So it’s been a lot of small one-off jobs, really.
But increasingly in the last couple of years, I’ve been doing pro-bono work for Boldly Me. I’ve kind of realized how reserved I was being with it all; I hesitated to tell people even though I really believe in what the organization does. I’ve been keeping all of my various worlds separate and silent, and now I’m questioning why that was, like I have had to hide the different aspects of myself from different sets of people in my life. And yet I love all of the varied sets of people I’m lucky enough to have in my life, even if they haven’t intersected much.
I kind of feel like, what the heck, why shouldn’t I just talk openly about it all? If you believe in something you should be able to speak openly about it, right? What have I been afraid of? Being judged? Being laughed at for helping out causes and people I believe in? I have been realizing that I’ve still been carrying around some of those old fears from pain I carried when I was younger, and falling into them without even realizing it.
My own self-identified, comfortable identity as an ‘artist’ has increasingly not been enough to define who I am now, as an older person trying to raise boys in a challenging world. It’s not enough anymore to define myself as an artist or graphics person, or as any one thing; adaptability is the key for me and my family, I think.
Anyone who knows me will be nodding when I say that I have always been prone to self denigration, and a strong and healthy self esteem has never been one of my firmer qualities. But you know, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to being more fine with who I feel like I really am and who I want to be and merging the two into a stronger, whole person. It feels weird but right.
And it feels weird but right to now join up with a non-profit that helps hurt people get stronger in their self esteem. So thank you, Alanna, and Boldly Me, for helping me find the path on my own journey to wholeness.
Beckett Gladney is the Program Manager for Print Media and Publications at Boldly Me. She worked in the computer games industry for many years as an artist, animator, concept artist and a lead artist. All of the photos in this post were provided by her. You can read more about Beckett on her Boldly Me bio page.
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