My 7 year-old daughter and I love to read the stories about powerful, brave, and inspiring women found in the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book. Recently volume 2 was released and we embarked on our nightly ritual. Before getting ready for bed, she opened it up and found a “Rebel Girls Map” inside that plotted each woman featured in the book on a map of the world. Excitedly, she laid it out and looked immediately for our home. She slowly began to get sad – then tears flowed. I asked her what was wrong, and she was upset that there wasn’t a marker on/near us. She said that it meant she “can’t be a brave girl too.”
After quickly sewing together my broken heart, I scooped her up and talked about how she is already brave. She seemed to be buying what I was telling her, and silentlybwent to her room for a bit.
About 5-6 minutes later she came out with a smile and asked what brave women I knew and to tell me about them. I told her a story of my grandmothers, and how I thought they were brave. She took her coveted purple marker and drew designations for each of them on the map. I went over and looked and she already had marked herself in our city. She said, “I just have to fix the map!” She then went to other family members and asked them for more brave women contributions to add.
She gets it.
If you don’t feel like your skills, talents, time, and effort are being recognized – get a new damn map. Make one. Find one where you fit. Find your place.
All too often we are told that because we don’t fit some sort of ideal or expectation – that we didn’t set. We are told we don’t belong based on someone else’s version of standards. It’s time to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who’s standards or expectations are we measuring ourselves by?
- Were they set by an old white guy?
- Are you measuring yourself against social media? Magazines? Other media?
- Are you being true to yourself or fulfilling someone else’s picture of you?
- Is your story being told by you or one that was given to you by your family/parents?
- Is it time to call bullshit?
You are brave. And it’s time for us to get a new damn map.