Indeed, well behaved women seldom make history. While Malala Yousafzi has said she did not set her sights on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Award, one cannot deny that her stance and fearlessness definitely qualifies her deserving of this place in our history books. And to think she’s really just turning the page on the first chapter of volume 2 of her life story.
Like every other person who has made great change in the world she has connected her wagon to something far greater than herself and said with her actions: Enough, I refuse to believe the limitations you’ve placed on my life and the life of every other female – just because we are girls. Like Rosa, who refused to sit at the back of the bus. Like Misty Copeland who took what were considered to be thighs that were too big and a stature not quite right for ballet and removed the ceiling that had been placed on her talents. Like Maya who knew why the Caged Bird sang and used that secret to free too many to count. Like Oprah who stayed true to who she was and refused to change her name or any part of herself to fit into “what had already been done”. Like Adrianna Kenebrew, the legally blind gymnast who has her mind set on winning gold at the Olympics and mounds the uneven bars and balance beam on pure passion. Like the mothers burying young sons and daughters who remain standing long after so that the lives of others boys and girls may know a different world. Like Serena Williams who muted the voices of criticism–and there were and still are many, and created history when her clothes broke the mold, her beads were a distraction, and her looks were under the microscope. And as she climbed she turned back to share that as successful as she had become she was like any other woman who battles body acceptance. She stepped off the court and unto the playing field of transparency…and then we meet Lupita Nyong’o. Another career. Different “fight”. From the cotton fields of “12 Years A Slave” and into the role of herself in every interview and acceptance speech she has given and spoke openly of her insecurities as a teenager not feeling beautiful enough, not being enough, but moving forward in life and pursuing dreams and goals regardless of any insecurities. The list of greats is endless which makes me pause to ask, What can’t we do?
Our lives are rich with amazing women – yourself included. We stand Shoulder to Shoulder with fierce women who can be found pushing through obstacles, through fears, fuelled by nothing but passion and an unquenchable thirst to reach what they believe possible. Inside of each one of us is a legacy being written, pages of history that will tell what changed because we were here and whose life was made different.
What fears are you willing to push through to break the damn and open your own floodgates which ultimately will take others with you?
All it takes is one. One person to stand for that which their heart says “no more” to or follow the tug of your passion that creates a change. We can’t wait for permission or look for repeated examples to do what has never been done. Nor can we continue to only stand on the shoulders of the greats from the past and the history they wrote. A baton was long passed. What story will we tell? Or will we leave this world unaffected by our presence in an ego chase for platforms and publicity with no thought to contributing to the betterment of the space we occupied?
The ripple effect of change can be a beautiful and powerful thing when we all play our respective roles to step out of the box and push past our fears into the urgency of now. Each one of us pursuing our goals. Each one of us playing our part. Fearlessly.