Genah Burditt - Passionate and Perseverant
What are your “and” words and why? Passionate and Perseverant. Excuse my language in advance, but, I like to say, "I don't f*** around." Everything I do I put my whole heart into, I pursue it with fervor. Whether it's launching a new company, learning to speak Spanish, attending every parenting class I can, helping a friend find a job... I am also [com]passionate. I cannot stand to see others hurting or struggling. Sometimes I probably help too much when someone really just needs a shoulder to cry on. That's the passionate part.
For perseverant: I learned a lot about myself following split from my husband 6 years ago. I learned that I can tread water with concrete shoes for a really long time without giving up. Every road block that is thrown down in front of me I confront head on. Not saying I am always successful or always make the best or most efficient choices when confronted with difficulty but I am proud to say I generally shake it off and trust in God that as long as I work hard, in good faith, and with good intentions, then things will work out eventually.
What you are known for saying / a quote from you. What does this quote mean to you, (or if it’s from someone else, why does it inspire you)? “I love words!” Every time I run across a new word I look it up, memorize it, and try to use it in conversation. I am a big believer in the ability to communicate with precision. The vaster one’s vocabulary, the more effectively one can do that. Our language has been boiled down to the point of meaninglessness at times. I like conversation and communication to be rich and insightful, to demonstrate one’s brilliance. My friends know this about me and frequently send me interesting words to try to stump and/or just plain amuse me…. nonplussed, haberdashery, onomatopoeia, calaboose…are some fun ones, to name a few.
Which other Ladybadasses inspire you and why? Mary Lynne Weber. We met in kindergarten in 1980. I have always thought of her as one of the smartest and quirkiest people I’ve ever known. Her success in school compelled this otherwise mediocre student to try harder and I ended up graduating with honors. Her independent spirit helped me grow into a woman who is comfortable with and even proud of her own idiosyncrasies. Oh my how we laughed over the years. And, her foul mouth! ;) But, in the last 5 years it has been her courage and outlook that has inspired me the most. 5 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer following her initial, routine mammogram at age 40. She has consistently confronted each challenge along the way with pragmatism and ironic humor. She tackled her bucket list with a vengeance. She never quit working, instead continuing to inspire her students (professor at HACC in Harrisburg, PA). Recently the cancer has spread throughout her body, attacking her spine, kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain. She is on hospice now and she recently wrote:
“I know when I die they will all say I ‘lost my battle with cancer.’ I hate that sentiment on behalf of all cancer patients.
Every day I got up (get up) and lived my life, went to work, went to Romania, went to Hawaii, went to my niece's graduation, every f***ing day I kicked cancer's ass. Some days I did it sleeping on the couch binge watching Netflix, some days I had to kick cancer's ass from a hospital bed or on my knees sobbing, screaming. So, I don’t think it is fair to give all the glory to cancer for one ‘win’ at the end. It is currently 1709, me: 0, cancer.
Cancer already takes too much, don't give this bully of disease any more power than it already has. I think I did a pretty good job.”
When did you first realize that you had some Ladybadassery in you? I’ve always known I had some strange sort of spunk, but it wasn’t until my late 20s/early 30s that I began to understand how to harness and utilize my secret powers. When I really started to get into my career I found my self confidence. I was a public educator at the time (for Denver Museum of Nature & Science). I knew I was well received by my audiences. They frequently commented/complimented my quirky energy, crazy facial expressions, sense of humor, and, my ability to help anyone understand complex scientific and technological concepts. And, I knew my co-workers appreciated my talents because I continued to receive recognition from my peers, other departments, and promotions within the organization. The more I succeeded the more I felt like a bad ass. When I left that organization it took 3 people to replace me. And now, with the confidence that my career and single mom-hood has given me, I've had the courage to start/operate two small businesses, to feel confident mingling with astronauts, 4 star generals, Space X personnel and lots of other Rock[et] Stars! My kids tell everyone that I am a rocket scientist-this is not precisely true, I've explained this many times-but, to have my kids bragging about me to their friends and teachers is so rewarding!
I feel like I am bragging. It's kind of fun! My mother taught me humility to the point of being unable to accept a compliment. I want to model a confident, compassionate, and proud humility for my kids.
What is your advice to other women who are trying to tap into their Ladybadassery? Surround yourself with inspiring people. A long time ago I decided I was going to go after Ladybadasses with the fervor I went after boys when I was young. If someone seems inspiring or interesting to you find a way to get to know that person. You may not become friends but you will learn something about yourself and them in the process. Most Ladybadasses don’t even realize how great they are. I guarantee they’d love to hear it from you!