If I had a dollar for every time I have been told I am too forward, too intimidating, too bitchy, too aggressive, too you-fill-in-the-blank I could retire. The thing is, aside from being aggressive when playing sports I am none of those things. Confidence in women is too often reduced to bitchiness. I’m actually pretty nice. I was taught to take up space in this world so I do just that, but because I am a woman it makes people uncomfortable. Their uncomfortableness is none of my business.
I don’t apologize when I ask a question or make a statement. I don’t laugh at the end of statements, either, just in case what I said was too strong and the words need to be softened. I have a right to my thoughts and expressing them. I like to win. I like to be the best, to make money, to yell at my football team during the fourth quarter during a goal line stand. I don’t excuse the meals I eat and when I’m still hungry yes I will eat dessert. I workout to keep my body strong not to punish it for processing calories. I sweat when I workout, dripping sweat and heaving chest because I go big or go home. I don’t not apologize for the space I take up in this world. I have every right to it.
I am teaching my daughter to be these things, because in between painting our toes and playing mermaids and doing glittery art projects we talk about business and economics and tarantulas and how to use our voices. We discuss politics and take out maps and plan adventures around the globe. I will not teach her to shrink, to speak meekly, to not eat pizza when she is hungry.
She will take up space in this world.
Someone once said to me that my parents raised me like a boy, like my brothers. No. My parents raised me to be a woman who is not afraid to be a woman.
Take. Up. Space.