The weaker sex.
Not fit for the job.
Sometimes belittled and often underestimated.
As a woman, these statements have crossed my radar – not every day, but they have definitely crossed my radar.
As girls, we grow up in schools where the boy is usually the class clown, the jock, the one who wins the robotics competition year after year.
My memories of this start at an early age, when boys would constantly pass to the other boys on the kick-and-chase soccer teams.
As a teen, I walked past the magazines at Borders, surrounded by images of celebrities with foundation-caked faces, wearing little-to-no clothing, all looking so strikingly simliar with their thin arms and legs, the physique of pre-teen boys, rather than growing young women who have curvy chests and widening hips.
I’ve grown up expecting a man to be elected as president, the CEO of a company and even the person who comes to fix the sink. Even though I consider myself a girl of a progressive era, the images we have for girls, especially those of young women, tend to be on the seedy side – drug rehab stints, new boyfriends (or husbands) every other week, dwindling away into skeleton-like bodies to fit in the designer dress for the award show.
My question is, where are the strong girls?
I am blessed that I had parents who encouraged me to run hard when scrimmaging against the guys during Friday soccer games, family friends who told me to apply for the scholarship, even when it seemed the boys had it in the bag, classmates and teachers who applauded me when I used my voice, telling me that my words really did count.
On top of all that, my high school’s motto was, “Today’s young woman. Tomorrow’s leader.”
Even though I graduated from high school almost five years ago, I take this statement as seriously as I did when I decided to apply to go to school there – 14 years old, with trouble getting my hair to look “nice” and not knowing why I was proud to be a woman.
But I’ve grown a lot in those years since ninth-grade health class, a leader of my associated student body and eventually Division One athletics.
I’ve come to learn that I’m not just a girl. I’m a strong girl. I’m a strong girl who moves – in physical, mental and spiritual ways.
Why do I call myself this? Because my mom was a strong girl. My female role models are strong girls. My friends are strong girls.
But most importantly, it’s because I know that God creates all girls to be strong girls – us girls just need to realize it … and then live it out!
A strong girl knows that she was beautifully made and created with a purpose. Her actions and the words she speaks influence people. She inspires. She encourages. She engages.
As a strong girl, her daily life is a testament to her faith – what she believes to be true – and the trust she places in her faith when she chooses to move – and she moves in big ways.
A strong girl knows that she is a light to her community, and because of her determination, she shines in this world.
I am blessed to be surrounded by strong girls and I want to them to share their stories with you.
As I am inspired by these young women, I hope their stories ignite your hearts to flame – to burn with passion for what you do, to glow with the love for the reason you were created.
Each day this week, check back to read about these strong girls who are taking that leap of faith to move in the ways they know they were made to dance.