Eventually you get tired of playing it small.

How many times have you kept your mouth shut because the person you were talking with believed you should be less knowledgeable than you are?

I’m talking to you, who awkwardly pulled her arm down when the teacher looked tired of calling on you. You, who started to speak and then bit your tongue because you knew that no one genuinely wanted to hear what you had to say.

Yes, you.

Eventually you’ll get tired of crossing your legs so that you don’t offend someone. Eventually it’ll be painful enough to zip your lips shut that you just stop doing it. Eventually you’re going to toss your head back and scream because it’s just not who you want to be any more.

Small is for children’s toys. For Barbie shoes. Small is for doll houses and shadow boxes. It’s really not for you anymore.

And that’s a pretty great thing. Because even though peoples’ perception of you is their reality, it actually has very little to do with who you are. Right or wrong, sometimes it’s easier to just allow them to think what they think. And sometimes, you quit worrying about other peoples’ opinions. They stop mattering so much.

I want you to experience this freedom. I want you to jump up onto your desk with arms waving and shout, “This is me, world!”

Or at least maybe just decide that you’re taking back your power from those you had habitually given it to. Maybe you don’t need to throw your laptop across the room – instead you just dump your purse into trash. You give all your high heels away on Freecycle. You start smiling at people you were afraid to make eye contact with before.

Because really, who the hell cares what they think?

At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice,
it would be to use the words “fuck off” more frequently.

Helen Mirren

And what do YOU think? What is it that you do that makes your own heart smile?

These are the questions you’ll begin to ask yourself. You’ll check in more frequently. In your exhaustion with keeping others happy, you will find energy in looking within yourself and figuring out what it is that you want. Regardless of what you’re doing, you’ll catch yourself at the crossroads again and again saying, “And what do I want?”

That’s when you’ll know you’re there.

When it no longer is commonplace for you to sit down quietly, not being seen, I hope you remember this moment. And I hope you decide to look behind you and remind the next woman that eventually she won’t want to play small any longer. And that it’ll be okay. That she is allowed to have her own opinions and to speak her truth.

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