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Monday, July 7, 2014

On 4:38 PM by Rachel Preston Prinz in ,
I try not to write too much on here that's deeply personal. I live a relatively quiet life, even though I am getting more recognition for my work every day, frankly, I don't really want to invite people to comment on me any more than they already do. (Which I know I need to get over, but hey, one step at a time, okay?)

Over the past few months I have been developing a peer/colleague/friendship with an architect in Santa Fe, who, from the moment I met her, I just... instantly... loved. I cannot explain it. She's just so... easy... for me to see and feel and hold space for. She's SO awesome, SO insightful, SO real, and such a great designer, that I want her to succeed... to SOAR. So much so that I have often contemplated giving up my own beautiful practice just so that I could go work, even part time, for her. She's THAT good. Really.

In the months we have been becoming friends, I have dropped little hints here and there about my regrets. I suppose there's a part of me that wanted to forewarn her that I've been a handful to other bosses. In case, maybe, you know... she would ever "have me."

Somewhere in all of the time we've spent together, we became real friends. She's also a mentor. And a peer, now, because in the interim, I went and got us two projects to work on together. I love being part of a team and I thought it would be fun to collaborate. So when I got the one job posting, and the one really big job I'd worked two years to get, I called her. It's happening. It's amazing. I'm excited, and I cannot wait to learn and grow with her. It's been a long time since I had a boss worth putting my heart into. Not that I don't care for the previous ones for various reasons, but this, this is different. Maybe it's the 7 years I have been running my own firm. Maybe I'm more mature. Maybe I'm more humble. Maybe I'm finally ready. Maybe she's the One. Maybe it's all of those things. Maybe it's none and it will be a giant disaster. Or maybe it's because we are coming to the table as peers, and she's NOT my boss. Whatever. I don't know and I'm okay with that. Whatever it is, it's good.

What I DO know, for sure, is that what she just told me really floored me.
I think lots of people, especially women, in the field of architecture need to remember this.

We were talking about AIA convention, which just happened in Chicago, and I was nervous about her running into my old bosses. One of them is in leadership with her and I know they know each other. I was kindof scared that they'd talk about me. (Because, you know, the whole world is all about me and my stuff. ha!) Anyway, we were just finally getting caught up in preparation for the interviews next week, and I was telling her about how while she was gone, I was working on something... I have been writing my old bosses and saying thank you's for all they taught me and I am sorry's for the gigantic pain in the ass I know I must have been. Because before I started going blind, I was FULL of myself. I was full of ideas. I was full of answers. And, I was full of questions. Basically I'm the kid in class who the teachers gave books for kids 4 years ahead just so they could get me to shut up long enough to let the other kids do their schoolwork. (They started me in college in 9th grade, and while I like to think it's because I am SO smart, in reality, it's more like it was so I wouldn't be a problem for the other students and teachers.) I'd devour anything they gave me to learn. And eventually, once there were no more books to give me, and I was out in the world on my own, I'd devour my bosses too. They could never keep up with my insatiable appetite to learn, do, try, and report on... more. I would make them crazy. I know it. There's no sense denying it.

As soon as I mentioned the part about "I'm sorry"s, she interrupted me and asked me in a loud, booming voice, "What EXACTLY do you mean by that?" And I started to explain. She interrupted me again, saying, "Oh no you DO NOT say you are sorry. You say "thank you for giving me room and knowledge so I could spread my wings and learn to fly." Don't you DARE be sorry. You were doing your best and we all have to learn the way we learn. You be grateful for how lucky you are. And how hard you worked. You've done good things. Women cannot continue to apologize for being intense. Our intensity is what makes us good at what we do, and we wouldn't have gotten here if we weren't strong enough. You are not alone in this. No more "I'm Sorry" or I'll have to reach through this phone and smack you!" LOL!!! Now, this is not a "smacking around" kindof lady. She's got class from tip to toe. And I was really taken aback. Because I've been saying I'm sorry (for being me) my whole life. And her standing up and saying "NO MORE!" FOR me, was so powerful to me. And empowering. Because she's a badass. And I have to believe the badass ones. They are my light in the darkness. And she was holding up a light, made of me, in fact, it was made of the worst part of me! But it was still a light! How freaking EPIC is that?>!>!>!

I hope that every young woman, whether she be in the profession or not, who may have been made to feel like she's "too much" and "not enough" at the same time, has someone strong enough and wise enough to stop her in her tracks when she apologizes for who she is, and makes her think about just who she is and what that strength she brings can do for the rest of the world. Because god bless it, we need more of THAT in this world!

Thank you Universe, for bringing me an angel.
I can't wait to see what you've got in store for me, and for us.


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postscript: I've gotten so many private emails about this post. Thank you all for sharing! A gem I thought I might share:

"Thanks for sharing your blog post. It was really great to read. My friend and I were just talking about this last night, and about how feeling like we are overwhelming or intense or not enough are all aspect of perfectionism and not accepting ourselves." C.


We are not alone. Love to you