November 26, 2014
Let me back up, because this post already sounds breathless and uncomfortably fan-girl-ish.*
As my professional (cough) alter-ego, I lurk around a nerdy corner of Reddit and try to answer some of the questions people pose about life (money), the universe (money) and everything (also money). I try not to give quick, pat answers. I try to think about where they're coming from, have compassion and patience, and generally be helpful if I can and silent if I can't.**
Some folks are...erm...less so.
But - and here's where I'll eventually meander back to where I started - some people are more so.
There's one user in particular that gives stellar advice - and when I say "stellar", I don't just mean that the advice itself is good, although, to be frank and not at all hyperbolic, it transcends goodness. I mean that the advice she gives is not only good, but also articulate, grammatically and factually correct, often funny, sometimes nerdy, and always unpretentious.
In short: she's who I want to be when I grow up in written form.
A few months ago one of my colleagues told me who she is in real life. A few weeks ago, she retweeted something of mine on Twitter and then messaged me and then we started emailing and then - today - we talked on the phone.
Some of my excitement has to do with validation, of the "we spoke and she didn't laugh at my stupidity" variety, which - again - has nothing to do with my actual stupidity and everything to do with a slowly dying lack of confidence in my actual intelligence. (It was excruciating to even write the "i" word without making a very self-deprecating joke.)
Some of my excitement has to do with the sheer joy of talking shop with someone a few years further down the road of experience than I am.
Most of my excitement , though - and this is a surprise to me too - comes from the fact that she's a she, married, with two kids, and I'm a she, too! I'm married, too! I have some number of kids too!
Listen, I have a lot of male colleagues (most of whom I've never met) that I respect, that respect me, that I work well with, and that I just flat out enjoy talking to. But women in my particular corner of the industry are scarcer on the ground.
I don't know why it matters, but it does.
All of that to say: "hero" might be a little strong, but "someone I respect, want to emulate, and want to genuinely respect me while not holding back when she notices where I might be in need of improvement" seems a little wordy.
*NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT
**You wouldn't even recognize me, that's how mature and stuff I am.