Nope and Sure and Yes, I am.

by Alicia on January 3, 2019

Somewhere, buried forever, I have a spreadsheet. It has a Pros list, and a Cons list. Of all the reasons to take a leap, and all the reasons to stay safe. (To be fair, my headers read: Nope. and Sure.) There are more points on the Nope side of the spreadsheet, and a question to the far right of all the text:

“I’m here to move the needle. Is this the place to move it?”


Narrator voice: it was.


Alicia Higgison, Public School Board Trustee sign with three daughtersI recently ran an election campaign for a local Public School Board seat.

And I won.

(Unseated a two-time incumbent. Ahem.)

But the seat is not what I came all the way back here to talk about. I have a website, where I’ll be blogging about that specific experience. I’m here to talk about what it’s been like to do the work. To do the work I’m passionate about. To do that work alongside the expectations of motherhood, external and internal. There was a lot of doubt in my Nope list of reasons why I shouldn’t pursue a political career, but what is not on that list was ever a fear that my kids couldn’t handle my decision. I will say that while I took them into consideration before taking on the task, I did not ask their permission or wonder whether it would be ok with them. I wondered how they would handle the struggles, not if they should have to. I wondered what it would look like to carve out time for them, not whether it was ok to take the time for me.


In all of my work- in my bend toward increasing votership, in my deliberate political work, in my job in open education- in all of my work, I am leaving a path behind me. A smoother and more equitable and deliberate path for others to pursue their own choices with support and encouragement and confidence, and maybe, if we’re lucky, some great policy. A trusted friend paid me a great compliment yesterday. She told me that I consistently and always build people around me up to believe that they can do anything, and not just anything sometime, but anything right now. That they have all the tools right now, and that I’m excited for them to start, and that they should do it, do the thing, they’re ready.

I’ve spent my conscious adult life encouraging people to take up the mantel of themselves. (And when I say conscious adult life, I mean literally the past 5 years. It hasn’t been that long that I’ve known myself. You’re on your way, take your time with yourself.) And when I was making my decision on whether to run for a political seat or not, I wondered if I was smart enough. I wondered if I knew enough, if I was able to do the job well enough to be worthy of it. There was never the question of whether I should. There were many questions from other people on whether I should- both before I declared and while I campaigned.

I got a great call during the campaign, at a time when I was excited but feeling like I needed to humbly internally deal with the fact that I might just lose, after all of this effort. And I was told that even if I lose, all that I have gained in the process of the work is worth the moments spent to make it happen. That what my daughters were seeing their mother do would reflect on their goals for  themselves long after my political career gained or lost steam. That they would have grown up seeing their mother do something. Seeing their mother take a dream and turn it into work. Seeing their mother decide to put her name on a sign and her heart into a cause and expose it all to the elements in pure and electrified passion. Seeing their mother was a person, was a woman, was a force in this world meant for laying a path and building the bridges it would take for people behind her to succeed. Seeing their mother respected for being smart, for being ambitious, for being humble and gracious and for taking no shit.


My political decisions are influenced by my daughters, just as all my decisions are influenced by the relationships I hold most in esteem and respect most deeply. Those girls will always learn more from my actions than from my words. And the actions they’ve watched me do are authentically and passionately some of the greatest achievements of my life. And I live it fully, and I express it authentically, and I make sure they know how much it means to me and all it brings to my life. I don’t play it cool, I play it gloriously uncool, I play it with feelings and with exuberance and with all the weight and reverence that it deserves.

And the answers to those questions I asked myself, on whether I should run are: Yes I am, I’ll never know enough, and yes I am.

Yes, I am.


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