Posts Tagged ‘intelligent girls’

I was reading a letter written to a 7-year-old girl from Hillary Clinton. Her words at first made me so happy for all the little girls and young women of today. Then I started to tear up, and then I started to shed those tears. At the age of 16 I failed. I failed myself. I was afraid! These are the words that made me cry.

“If the space that you’re in doesn’t have room for your voice, don’t be afraid to carve out a space of your own.”

Yes back in the fall of 1967 I was sitting next to my very cute football star chemistry partner. We were working on a project and I was showing him how to do it. I was so happy to have this cool guy right there next to me. After I had finished showing him how to do this. He turned to me and off the cuff said these words to me:

“Oh, so you are the intelligent type.”

Yes, I am. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I wanted his attention. BUT . . . at that point I learned the very awful idea that it was not always good to be the best and the brightest. So did I carve out that place for myself and say YES I AM?

Hell No!

I became less than I could be. I made sure that I made the B honor roll every semester but only occasionally the A. You see B would keep my parents happy and there were lots and lots of boys and girls on the B honor roll. I could fit in.

Another deadly comment was from another male friend that I could help show off my boobs if I wore long necklaces with a heavy pendant. I was the Donald Trump approved weight of 117 pounds not quite tall enough at 5’6 1/2 inches.

Then came the Women’s Liberation Movement. I went back to carving out a place for my voice and myself. But to this day . . . that teenager still lurks repeating those questions: Are you smart enough but not too smart? Are you pretty enough? Are you too fat? Do you open your mouth too much? Are you too . . .

My husband told me today I should probably take some time away from this campaign. I told him, “Probably – but this is too important – especially for women.”

And it is – I do not want any little girl or young woman to think that she needs to hide her intellect. I don’t want any little girl to think she needs to be a Barbie doll. I don’t want any little girl or young woman to think of herself as only a walking vagina.

“Donald pulled me aside at his wedding,” Stern said in comments that had not resurfaced until now. “He said, you know I am getting remarried, but Howard, vagina is expensive. I will never forget those words. The guy is right. Those were the exact words!”

We are more than that.

We need to be seen! We need to be heard! We need to be judged by what we actually do.

My goal is to be the best Yaya I can be for my grandchildren, to love them with my whole heart, to be smart, to be kind, and to fix broken toys.

My favorite compliment was said by one of my amazing grandchildren over a broken toy”

“We can take it to Yaya. She can fix it. She can fix anything.”

So far – Yes, I can – I like tools, I like thinking outside the box and I like a challenge and fixing stuff is a challenge. So yes, this 65 year old lady will continue to carve out a place for herself and love that 16 year old me that thought by being smart I was NOT good enough. I will just remind her that she needs to carve out that place for herself and be proud of who she was, is, and will be.

Hugs to all and be the best you you can be!