by Brenda’s Child
Early on, there was no doubt in my mind that I could be beautiful and girly one minute, strong and fearless the next. If She-Ra could do it, so could I. Let me refresh you about She-Ra. She was He-man’s twin sister and the “Princess of Power.” One moment she was gorgeous Princess Adora, but when she pulled out her sword, she became a heroine; and my inspiration.
With this in mind, I decided I would try out for wrestling my freshman year of high school”... or so I thought. When my friend and I attempted to enter the gym, we were suddenly intercepted by the coach. The words that came out of his mouth cut me as quickly and as deeply as a guillotine. He told us we had to be out of our minds if we thought he was going to let us on the team. Then he abruptly dismissed us and demanded we go back to class.
Although the circumstances may vary, this type of thing still happens on a daily basis. A girl loses her sense of power because she is placed in a box by the expectations and rules of others. Often when it happens, it undermines a young girl’s confidence in her capabilities. All of a sudden, the world that is supposed to be her oyster snaps shut on her.
Sometimes it’s one event, other times it’s a culmination of negative interactions that make us feel like we need to surrender our inner She-Ra and liken ourselves to Snow White or Cinderella. When we compromise the essence of who we are, it becomes easy for us to lose ourselves. Suddenly being a follower becomes easier than taking the lead. By marching to someone else’s tune, we aren’t alienated because we’re different. We belong.
Daddies, you potentially have the biggest impact on your daughter’s abundance or lack of girl power. You are the first man to love your daughter, so if she ever feels rejected or neglected by you; it can scar her for life. However if she knows that Daddy has her back no matter what, she will know she can do any and everything.
My father had become a recent paraplegic at the time of my mother’s passing (I was four) so I did not grow up living in the house with him. But when I needed an appendectomy at age seven he was right there with a plush puppy for me (which I still have) as I was wheeled into surgery. He has always seemed to take joy in his daughter’s lively personality and ambitious endeavors.
My father made me feel like I could do anything a boy could do, and maybe even better and he balanced it out with chivalry. Knowing I had his unconditional love has been the safety net I’ve needed to walk the tight rope of dreams, and why no coach or no other man has ever broken my spirit.
Brenda’s Child is a mother, special education teacher, poet, and founder the mentoring program, Keep Youth Dreaming and Striving. Her memoir, The Right Amount of Sunshine”...Cultivating Little Girls into Young Ladies, is just one of the many ways she is fulfilling her mission to inspire others through poetry,stories, and leading by example.