There are moments you reflect back that are monumental moments that shifted your paradigm but at that moment you didn’t realize it. I had one of those last week at PNE of all places. Growing up I remember walking around envious of the big toys that people win playing games. As a young girl, I don’t know how this got in my head but the norm for me was a guy was supposed to win it for me (although my parents were huge advocate in me being independent and self-sufficient). It was against some sort of rules of nature to have a girl win by herself or she was incapable of doing so.
As I walk around with my friend with Elysia and after we ate everything in sight, we played some games. We played the easy games – whac-a-mole, fishing a fish and picking out some cute little ducks to win some small toys. As we were about to leave, there was a bunch of guys gathered around the test your strength game, the goal is to whack the base of the game with a mallet as hard as possible to ring a bell. As I watched guys after guys attempting to ring the bell for the big toy, they walk away with sad faces and small little toys. I thought what the heck… why not? My friend tried to talk me out of it because 1) I was wearing a tube dress, 2) I dressed like “an old woman” – her words not mine, and 3) there were too many guys watching. There was something inherently wrong about a girl wearing a dress (outwardly feminine) challenging the guys perhaps but whatever, I didn’t care about embarrassment. We were passed that after my eating marathon. Handed my $5 dollars and took a swing. At my first try, I rang the bell… the second and third try I did even better. I walked away with the biggest toy. I even heard one guy yelling to another guy, “Dude, the chick did better than you!”
As I walk away I thought of a quote by Dr. Maya Angelou “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” I didn’t need any one to win me anything, I can do it myself. While it took me 27 years for me to realize it – to the young ladies in my life who think they need to compromise their feminine qualities to “act like a man” to get further ahead or to rely a on guy to give them permissions shine, forget it – find your passion, follow it and do it on your term.