There are some of us who tend to talk too much. Often labeled as, "smart" (not the good kind), "too deep", "too much" or an "overthinker". However, why is it that women who think beyond the surface level are categorized this way with such negative undertones and with minimal positive affirmations. Why is it that I can be more celebrated for what makes me beautiful or "sexy", but not as much for the attributes that make me gifted, unique, valuable and so on? It often makes you want to keep quiet or feel the pressure to go find a corner to sit, be pretty and soft. Sitting is not enough, beauty is fleeting and the idea of being soft is a subjective label. Those hiding places make it much easier to be overlooked, protected or at least shielded from the backlash of criticism. It seems as if sometimes being too quick-witted or vocal about what you are passionate about gets you labeled as problematic. If it is not explicitly stated than it is indefinitely felt.
As I began to explore these feelings, I began to look for role models who have overcome the noise of criticism and who were courageous enough to own their own greatness, intellect or whatever God-given gift they possessed. I stumbled across an article that stuck out to me entitled, "What Aunt Kamala taught me about Ambition". This article spoke to me because it highlighted what too often women face when they decide to take a leap of faith on their dreams, their smarts and their gifts. After reading the article, I gleaned a few key takeaways that made me pause, reflect and respond.
" I hope this will be taught in homes, where all too often girls are sheltered and supervised, taught to value humility and politeness over drive and persistence - at the risk of being seen as "too this" or "too that". - Meena Harris
I think one major takeaway from that statement or at least from my interpretation is to stop training girls to live in boxes. When I think of "too this" or "too that", I think of the act of coloring outside of the lines. It is okay to color outside of the lines, if you are making it art. I think it is important for us to create spaces where the voices of those who are often policed and silenced, can feel free to be expressive, to use their gifts and to do so without fear of scrutiny or attack. This can all start by taking small steps to make sure that the individuals around us are heard and that they are given the time and space to feel heard.
For anyone reading this, who can resonate with this message, I encourage you to see yourself in a new light. Light cannot be contained, the light belongs to you. Let the light shine from inside of you and those who attempt to dim that light, are typically just unable to comprehend it.