The One Where I Say Thank You

Written by Lindsay Combs.

I’m taking a different approach for this month’s letter. Normally I am drinking a glass of wine in the evening on my couch, listening to some Fleetwood Mac on my record player. Today, I’m sitting in my favorite Covington coffee shop, Roebling Point Books & Coffee, drinking a latte and listening to some random Spotify playlist called “Your Favorite Coffeehouse.”

I would rather be drinking wine, but alas, today I must explore the world outside of my comfy home and be productive. I am just a few short days away from graduation and I can’t lie to you all: I’m slightly terrified. I knew that this day was going to arrive eventually, but I didn’t realize how quickly it would creep up.

I felt more relieved than I have in a long time. Not because I suddenly had an answer for my unknown future, but because I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited. I am thrilled to no longer have to manage time between multiple jobs, class, homework, water polo, and Pi Phi. But that means that my time playing water polo is over. My time with my sorority sisters is over. My time at U.C. is over. It’s bittersweet… more bitter than sweet, so far.

When I was a freshman in college, I had a plan. I knew exactly where I wanted to be when I walked across the stage on my graduation day. I was going to have a job in Chicago or New York. I would move immediately after graduation, ready to explore all that the world outside of Cincinnati had to offer. Well, here I am. Graduation is here. I don’t have a job. I won’t be moving the week after graduation. I don’t know what this new chapter holds, yet.

This has been a very hard concept for me to grasp – not having a plan. I’ve always been a planner. Always. For my entire life, there has been at least some plan laid out before me. You have school, then more school, then you choose a college and have more school. Now, nothing.

A couple weeks ago, I sat down with Kiersten and voiced some of my concerns and asked for some advice about this life following graduation. We talked about what her path was, how unpredictable life can be, and how to tackle the stress that is job hunting. When I walked out of that meeting, I felt more relieved than I have in a long time. Not because I suddenly had an answer for my unknown future, but because I didn’t.

Now I know that doesn’t seem like it should make a lot of sense, but stick with me. What she taught me in that short meeting, and in the almost year and a half that I’ve been with Women of Cincy, is that things change. Even if you have a plan, it is likely going to go differently. Sometimes things end up way better than expected. Sometimes they don’t. Either way, you learn from it and grow.

So thank you, Kiersten. Thank you, Chelsie. Thank you to my fellow residents. Thank you to the Women of Cincy team. Thank you for showing me how much fun straying from the original plan can be. Thank you for showing me how to fill a seat at a table of leaders. How to be the badass woman in a room of people who may not see me that way.

I said earlier in this letter that this time has been more bitter than sweet recently. Part of that is because my time as a resident and student editor-in-chief for Women of Cincy is officially over. After a year and a half, it is time for me to take what this organization has given me and share it with the world. When I first started here, it was just an internship for me to get class credit and “real world experience.” I had no clue the impact and the growth it would bring to me. Because of Women of Cincy, I have found my passions, my voice, myself. I have seen this organization share the stories of the most amazing and badass women in this city – including my mother, for which I will never be able to explain how grateful I am.

Towards the end of every interview, we ask our interviewees to tell us about an influential woman in their lives. I have always wondered how I would answer that question, what women I would decide to highlight. For me, there are three groups that come to mind:

My mom and sister. These two women have held me at my absolute lowest and seen me at my worst, yet still manage to have faith in me and push me forward. They are the smartest, sassiest, kindest, and most joyful women in my life. My forever best friends.

My aunts and my grandmother. Oh my, these women. They are strong, fierce, and badass. They are passionate. They are my own personal cheerleading squad and bodyguards all at the same time. It’s like having six more moms to hug me and hold my hand when I am terrified of life.

And last but not least, Women of Cincy. I could go on for hours and hours on how influential every single team member, resident, and interviewee has been on my life. The team, showing me how important it is to build empathy and lift up a community. The residents, growing with me, laughing with (and at) me. The interviewees; the stories that show hope, empowerment, and passion. Thank you for allowing us to share your journeys.

Here’s to the next adventure and all the badass women we meet along the way.

Peace and blessings,