girl boundaries

I'm The Girl Who Will Never Stop Pushing Boundaries, And I'm Proud Of It

And I don't care what you have to say about it.

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I've been a dreamer and a doer all in one ever since I was young. I never let my gender stop me from doing anything, and I will never start.

I remember it vividly. It was a summer's day and I was outside on my bike with my brother playing cops and robbers – I was about 8 years old. If you don't know how the game works, if you were the cop, the goal of the game was to hit your bicycle tire on the robber's tire to make them stop and basically fall over, and if you were the robber, you had to escape. This doesn't make a difference to the point of the story, but it's a piece I remember sharply.

Well, my brother and I played that game for hours. I'd crawl back to the house with scrapes and bruises from falling over too many times because he (who is 2 years older than me) was always faster at getting away and better at catching me. One day, I got so sick of the game and always losing that I used all my might to ride as fast as I could away, and by doing this, I went around the block alone.

That was a big no-no. As I was on my escapade, my brother went inside the house to tell my mom that I broke her rule of not leaving the street without him. When I came back from my joy ride, I saw her standing there on the front lawn, arms crossed, hip to the left, and in my youth, with steam blowing from her ears. I got pulled inside, plopped down on the couch as she knelt in front of me with a finger wagging in my face as she said, "You know you aren't allowed to go around the block alone."

But it felt unfair. I was 8 years old and my brother was allowed to ride around the neighborhood alone when he was my age... why couldn't I? So I asked her, ballsy as hell, why can't girls be treated the same way boys are? Of course, my mother was disappointed not in me but society and said that it's just the way it is.

It turns out that just around the block from my house, a registered sex offender had moved in and my mom was worried that her little girl would be a target. She had warned my brother to steer clear of that area and trusted that he would, but it was different with me because I was a girl. I don't blame her because she was trying her best to take care of me, but it's terribly sad that girls are seen as weak links and too emotionally fragile to deal with the hard facts.

And so I decided to become a journalist where my profession would be based on those facts. This revelation came many years later, but I do think it stems from this experience in one way or another. Ever since then, I've always tried to change the dialogue in any way I can by talking to people who have a very one-track mind when it comes to gender roles.

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone when she asked me what my plans are for after I graduate in the spring. I told her that it's my dream to get a job in New York City so I can live up there, be back by my family and be in an area that I've always felt the most comfortable in, and she asked me if I had a boyfriend who I would be moving up with. I told her our plan is to go up together as long as everything works out and she said, "That's great, at least you can have someone to depend on."

That's where the defeat starts to settle in again. There's this aura of doubt that a woman can do anything on her own, especially something as big as moving to a big city. Of course, it's going to be easier having him come with me, but it could be equally as easy to move in with a friend who is a girl. I told her that I definitely understand the sentiment, but I don't depend on anyone other than myself. She nodded and wished me the best of luck as most people would, and I left.

I normally would have let the comment go, but if we don't stop them from happening, people will never learn how much their words have an impact. Women do not need to depend on men to survive. It's been made very clear that they are more than capable, so this essence of doubt needs to diminish.

I'm the girl who will never stop pushing boundaries and I don't care what anyone has to say about it. You can think I'm crazy for dreaming big and for pushing to get there, but I'll be the one to show you that I can do anything.

Cover Image Credit:

Eli DeFaria

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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