I was told at age 6 that girls couldn’t play with boys.
But I grew up in a neighborhood that told me otherwise.
I was told at age 7 that I was too smart.
But I grew up with the smartest person in the world as a mom.
I was told at age 10 that I was too bossy for a girl.
But I grew up with models of women in leadership roles.
I was told at age 11 that my ideas for student council were unrealistic.
But I grew up with female role models in public office making real, empowering change.
I was told at 15 that my skirt made me ask for it.
But I grew up instilled with an understanding of autonomy and consent.
I was told at 16 that women just weren’t as funny.
But I grew up in a family of comedians.
I was told at 17 that my passion for justice was not feminine.
But I grew up with women who marched for their rights. And fought against every wrong.
I was told at 18 that my knees looked knobby. My skin was ugly. And I’d never look good enough.
But I grew up with beautiful women of every shape and size.
I was told at 19 that women couldn’t be pastors.
But I grew up with one as the head pastor of my church.
I was told at 21 that I was too nice for a leadership position.
But I grew up learning that those things were not mutually exclusive.
I was told at 23 that good writers weren’t women.
But I grew up inspired by their work.
I was told at 24 that I should pursue a sport less demanding on my body.
But I grew up with women who pushed themselves every day.
But I grew up with women and men of wisdom. Who proved that they were wrong. That I can be strong.
By their words and their actions, I’ve learned what is true, what is right, what is real.
That I can. And that I will.
I’m forever thankful.
Because now I get to pass it on.
"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”