“What are you doing this weekend?” Jackie asked me casually.
“I am taking my son to the skin doctor” I replied.
“Because I wanted to invite you to Mitooma,” Jackie said to me in her firm but gentle voice.
I thought for a few minutes.
I can be very indecisive.
In January, Jackie had invited me to the Women Executive Directors’ Retreat and I had found all reasons not to go including the fear of the unknown.
This time as I thought of Jackie’s invitation, I knew I needed to pause my life.
“I think I will go. Where is Mitooma?”
A few days before this conversation, Jackie had seen me at Femme Forte crying uncontrollably as Penny hugged me tightly.
The next day Jackie had sent me a WhatsApp that read, “Charlotte, you’re not fine. What’s up?”
I had disabled my mobile data because I was not in position to handle the invasion that comes with WhatsApp. So, I neither saw nor replied the message.
After a day of not hearing from me, Jackie called and invited me to her home and it is from her warm home that my Mitooma journey begun.
My responsibilities had overwhelmed me and I was fast diving into depression. I felt overwhelmed, worn-out, exhausted, drained, not pretty, unhappy, stuck, powerless - I felt so many things. You can feel all that and want to fight on but this time, the urge to quit was very present with me.
Mitooma gave me the space; to meet with twelve other women leaders, to listen to their stories, to share my story, to laugh heartily, to cry a whole lot, to play (we got really silly, I smile reminiscing about this), to be encouraged, to chill, to have fun, to dance, to wine and dine, to network, to love and be loved, and most importantly to get away from “it” all and ‘just do me’.
Mitooma reaffirmed my strong belief in the need for women to intentionally support each other because doing so enables us rise, it heals us, it empowers us.
In Mitooma I experienced the sisterhood.
“We need to start practicing sisterhood as early as we can, as women we don’t have the luxury of tearing each other down. There are enough barriers out there….so our job, as much as we can because nobody is perfect, is to do our best to lift each other up and to do that you have to start practicing now in your friendships with other people. There is no room for mean girls and cliques and social complications…find somebody who is struggling and help them. Don’t pull them down, don’t put your foot on their neck, you see another girl alone and isolated, keep that part of your heart open. One thing we can do better as women is to take better care of each other, and I hope you are all practicing that.” Michelle Obama
My challenges did not cease at Mitooma but I needed Mitooma to face my challenges.
Every woman needs a Mitooma moment, every woman needs a “Jackie” to take them to Mitooma.
Managing Partner, Charlotte Nalumansi & Advocates.