Written by Maureen Dahill
For roughly four months, I was larger than life. I was plastered on the side of building and I was over 8 feet tall on a 16ft by 16ft billboard at the corner of L & Broadway. The sight of it delighted my family. The same billboard ruined other people’s day to see my face as they sat at one of the busiest intersections waiting for traffic light to change.
In February, I made a bold choice to run for State Senate for the First Suffolk District. It was a special election, a sprint, a seat made vacant by Jack Hart’s abrupt resignation. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. I put myself out there and opened myself up to judgement. And boy oh boy was I judged. Feel free to read the comments from my initial announcement of my running here on this very website (https://caughtinsouthie.com/feature/rumors-are-true). They are harsh, angry, cruel and of course anonymous.
On a beautiful sunny Tuesday, I lost the election and I survived it. I was not left broken or devastated. Instead I am wiser and stronger. The day after the election I was called the “Southie Spoiler” in Peter Gelzinis’ column in The Boston Herald – that I had in fact taken votes away from Representative Nick Collins – also a Southie native running for the same seat – and cost him the election. To think that voters would cast a vote based solely on the fact of where a candidate is from is insulting to say the least, but it still doesn’t change the fact that both Nick and I lost and I’m left with the blame. I knew entering the race I would run the risk of being blamed but it was risk that was worth taking. Sometimes, in life, we have opportunities that arise and sometimes they are scary and the outcome unknown. Although I failed, at least I tried.
Last week after four months, the billboard came down. I hear Tasty Burger will be taking my place at the much coveted visibility spot. A perfect ending to that chapter of my life. You might be asking yourself, will she run again? Never say never. I got a taste for local politics; some of it is wonderful and delicious; some of it is not my cup of tea. But who knows? If the right opportunity arose, I may jump at it again. I mean really, what’s the worse that could happen? I fail? If failure is a reason not to take risks then nothing great in this world would ever be achieved. I stumbled upon an amazing quote from Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly. To quote Theodore Roosevelt:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Feel free to leave comments – only this time, I will only post ones that have the courage to leave their names and email addresses with them. There will be no anonymity this go around.