Girls, You Are Allowed To Take Up Space

Girls, You Are Allowed To Take Up Space

Don't let anyone shrink you.

It feels like every day someone finds a new way to tell girls to take up less space. It's no secret that women are expected and encouraged to be thin, to always watch what they eat and squeeze in extra trips to the gym before bikini season. But our obsession with women's weight is only one part of the problem.

As people like to remind me fairly often, I'm small. I stopped growing when I was in middle school, so I'm only 5'2". When it comes to describing me, "short" is usually one of the first words people use, and that doesn't bother me. Being short is a mindset at this point (even if that mindset is a mild Napoleon complex).

What does bother me is when people call me short or small as a compliment. I am constantly praised for taking up less space than the average woman, and I'm given credit for my tininess as if I worked hard to achieve it. People—and guys aren't the only ones guilty of this—love that I give them more room on airplanes, that they can easily look right over my head and that I can squish into the way back seat when we carpool. I'm subject to a lot of "manspreading" because it's expected that I can give up some of the room that I'm not taking up with my own body.

In other ways, though, I take up a little too much space. Besides "short," I get described as blunt or brutally honest or—my personal favorite—savage. In general, I don't hold back my opinions. I participate frequently in class. I take forever to tell stories because I can't stop adding personal commentary. People tend to think these qualities are less endearing than my tiny stature. But why?

I'm taking up too much narrative space. When guys talk for a bit, they're considered outgoing and personable, or at the very least, the fairly neutral description "talkative." However, when the tables are turned and a girl speaks too much, she "never shuts up." Even in an environment like a class discussion, where disagreement and conversation are encouraged, girls often get shut down for voicing an opinion that wouldn't be questioned if it came from one of the guys in the back. For instance, a few weeks ago, after I made a comment in my moral philosophy class, someone leaned over and told me to just write my ideas down instead of saying them. I took up too much space in the conversation; I made myself too visible.

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said it best in her brilliant and moving TEDx talk: "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, 'you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.'"

Girls, you shouldn't check yourselves from taking up too much room. You don't need to earn the right to your space. But you do have to fight for it. We live in a society where bigger is better, except when it comes to girls. You are allowed to be visible. Spread out, speak with conviction and revel in the space you take up. It's yours, and yours alone.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Gould

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He Changed Everything.

My soul is richer & my heart is fuller 

Sept 2013 I found myself writing to an evangelist Jennifer Beckham looking for more, looking for answers cause at the time I was in a dark place, and stuck no matter what I did. She wrote back! I cried as I read her respond. She sent me scriptures of who god is and what he wants for us. God says we are more than conquers and endurance develops strength and character. She encouraged me that I was on the right track. Not to give up and she would be praying for me. I saw Jennifer Beckham at a conference that year. I don't remember what she specifically talked about but I remember the feeling. The feeling of wanting to burst out crying, I could feel my eyes being filled with tears, and my heart racing but I wouldn't let out the tears. My pride was too big. I wanted to be strong so I did my best to hold it all in, and I did. At this conference they offered the audience who wanted to go up for prayer and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. Surprisingly I went up, but I went up with other people that were seeking out salvation. I wasn’t sure if I was going up to support the other people or if it was truly for me. I was confused, even though I said the prayer. I became more confused as the days went on and I wasn't feeling a difference in my life. Nothing was changing. I started reading the bible and many books, listening to sermons, and surrounding myself with positive people. I gave my life to Jesus, but I didn't feel like I was set FREE! I continued feeling empty, lost, broken, guilty, and hurt from the past. There were so many days where I just wanted to give up. Almost felt pointless to fight for my life. At this point in my life I didn't know God very much, but I had just a little bit of faith. My faith was as big as a mustard seed and God took care of the rest. Day by day, year by year I started noticing my life changing. I noticed I was changing. I started feeling happy with who I was and where I was in life. I no longer questioned God about the things that happened to me. In my heart I was ok with the wounds, the hardships, and trials from the past because I now understood those wounds and trials. I realized I was SET FREE! not perfect but set free. I started understanding who I was as a child of our heavenly father. Now it’s Jan 2018 and I’m in awe of who I am and where I am in life, all because of Jesus. His so faithful! I think of the favor, the grace, his mercy, his love, his joy and blessing that he gives me even when I’m undeserving of it, it’s overwhelming. He has never left me nor forsake me. I can say Jesus you changed everything and my heart so forever thankful. 

Today, I encourage you like Jennifer Beckham encouraged me. Keep going and don't give up. No matter what your past looks like believe in your heart that you were created for greatness. Don't let your past determine your future, be the change you want in your life. You have it in you. There is so much more to life, don't miss out on it. It's time to take back your happiness, love, joy, freedom and so much more. It's time to take back EVERYTHING the enemy has taken from you. God has made you an overcomer. I speak it right now, that you will be victorious in 2018 and the years to come. Remember, God loves you! 

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy and loving-kindness endures forever!

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Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

Golden Globe speech sparking some ideas.

As of Sunday, January 7, 2018, Oprah Winfrey made a few remarks during her Golden Globe speech, hinting to her possibly running for president in 2020. Later, two of her friends, who wish to remain anonymous confirm this speculation. One of the friends said that this idea has been looming for months now but that Winfrey did not come to a conscience yet.

The main point of Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes was the #MeToo movement. She also made a statement of, "A new day is on the horizon", which many liberal celebrities and viewers heard as a possible campaign cry.

At the moment, there is no serious talk right now about her running for president, but some of her fans have voiced their opinions through Twitter and Facebook after she had her speech. Along with her fans, her long time partner, Stedman Graham also mentioned that her running for president was a possibility

However what Winfrey does not have is political experience. When she needs political advice she looks to the Obamas and she fully endorsed Hillary Clinton. We may have our next Democratic candidate for the 2020 election. Although the race for president does not start until after the 2018 midterms, many candidates are getting a head start. Maybe this is her making her first move. What do you think? Will America choose another TV star as our president?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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