Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
In my 4th-year school report, it said next to only As and Bs that “Isabel is a confident, impulsive girl. She is sharp-eyed and discerningly, and grasping complexities easily. She succeeds in drawing conclusions and finding her own solutions. In group work, Isabel likes to take on the leading role.”
You can imagine that I flew home to proudly present my grades. I burst with pride as this meant I could go to High School soon. Until my parents explained to me that my teachers tried to tell me I was “bossy”. As if it was something bad, something I could improve. From one second to another I went from being super proud to doubtful. I was wondering if I was too loud, too fast, “too much”? Did they really mean I was “bossy”? As children the truth is what the adults around us are telling us, we don’t question it. Those stories and beliefs will build the foundation of our values when we grow up. And I grew up believing that I tend to be bossy with others, so I better scale back a bit and blend in with my classmates. When I only had someone telling me that “taking on the leading role” is an advantage, that I need to make use of this as a feature and don’t see it as something to improve. Even at my last corporate job, I was told something similar several times. In meetings, I would come up with ideas and solutions pretty quick, and I should hold back in order to give others a chance as well. It doesn’t mean that I was “bossy” because I really wasn’t. I should have been proud of it, I should have been able to see it as a gift. But instead, I spent years believing I was “too much”.
So this is to everyone who was told that they were too loud, too fast or simply too much: You are not. You are exactly as the world needs you.