Five years ago I changed course, changed my life, and discovered this community. It has been an incredible journey, and there is still so much more ahead to learn and explore. My holiday wish is not for me but for you all, this community and the people here I have come to know. I want to give you the gift in my heart, appreciation and gratitude for finding welcome and purpose here, the sense of wonder for what you know and share, delight in how each of you shine so distinctly like beautiful stars to light my tree.
You may not see this, but I do. You may not believe in yourself and your abilities, but I do. And I watch with wonder and delight as you share your discoveries online for others to learn from; as you reach for that next bar, one rung higher, and go after your goals be they OSCP, giving a talk, literally and figuratively learning to fly. I soar along with you in that vast expanse of clear blue sky, limitless in its possibilities.
I feel your words and hurt along with you when you are brave enough and open to share your pain and loss. I wish for your comfort and healing, conveying support in emojis and 140 characters but giving all the hugs and love I can when we get to meet up in real life. Because those times together are precious gifts, where we get to build friendships and strengthen those bonds.
So many of you have enriched my life in ways you cannot know, and opened doors for me so that I can learn, grow and keep exploring. You inspire me with your ideas and passion, so that I follow your threads and read your blogs to learn from you, with you. Your words push me to keep trying, to look deeper. You fill my heart with your compassion and care for others, recognizing the basic needs of others here, calling out wrongs and standing up for rights.
My wish is to honour you by paying it forward, seeking ways to help others find their way here, to lift up those around me so they can soar and then cheering you on until I am hoarse. I wish for you to follow your dreams and believe that you are more than good enough to go after what you want. You make a difference because you are here.
I will follow this up on Twitter and try to share as many handles of you as I can for a list of the wonderful guiding lights you are. ❤️
I would also like to personally thank and celebrate the wonderful people who are the founders, staff and volunteers at The Diana Initiative. I am so blessed to get to work along with you to make this event happen, and to support and encourage women in this amazing field.
Finally, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to those who have stood by me when the road was rocky, who rescued me to my first ShmooCon, encouraged me to submit my first talk, welcomed me at my first hacker con at Circle City. You know who you are and your love and friendship has carried me here. <333
I wish you all a very happy holiday however you are celebrating today, and may you have the love of friends and family to make this time warm and wonderful. You are the lights on my tree and the hope in my heart. Love and peace!