When I was a little girl, I remember being told that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up. The president of the United States. The first girl to play for the Dodgers. The CEO of my own company. A famous author.
These were my dreams.
The phrase was tossed around a lot, but the truth is, no one actually believed it. Where I grew up, you could only dream as big as the next block over. I was destined to grow old on the same streets my family grew up on and for me, that was not an option.
I wanted more.
I told myself that with hard work and determination, I really could do it all. Not that staying where you are is bad, or learning the family business is settling. No. But for me, personally, I needed to try.
There were not a lot of commercials shouting about equality or empowerment. I did not have individuals I could look up to who paved the way for me. If they existed, I had no way of knowing at the time. So I dug deep and pushed through on my own. I was the voice in my head yelling to keep going to keep shoving past the obstacles.
I may not be exactly where I envisioned, but I am a whole heck of a lot closer than I was. This is where I need to be and I would not have succeeded if I had stopped leaping over the roadblocks set in place by generations before me.
Nowadays, there are countless sports ads (like the Nike one that inspired this post) that bring me to ugly tears, and speeches by the most spectacular people chanting for change and encouraging the voiceless to find theirs and use it.
We see in the news everyday people standing for what is right and what is important, and I stand with each of them. Truly thankful for every word.
My husband and I recently had a conversation about how my daughter didn’t really cry after watching certain ads. She did not react the way I thought she would when listening to such strong individuals – no, strong women – stand up for one another.
I wondered why and then it came to me.
She has not known a world where that message wasn’t prominent. All she has ever known is this empowerment movement. No, this time of power for the marginalized person.
I settled into that thought with pride. Every single step we have taken as a whole has flourished into this bigger picture.
THEY are getting it.
They have figured it out sooner than most of us will.
She does not react because she already knows. She feels it in her soul that she truly can be whoever or whatever she wants to be. Because this is what we have ingrained in them from the very beginning. Our daughters and our sons have been listening all along. They have taken our words, our dreams, our hopes and turned them into a reality.
I am so proud of what our world will look like tomorrow with the leaders we are raising today.