I was asked to speak at the Women’s Empowerment Brunch today. Nervous and excited, of course I said yes. If there is anything I am good at, it’s believing in people. I brought my daughter along, so she could be surrounded by powerful, positive women, and we had a great time.
Here are my notes. It didn’t quite come out like this… I am definitely better at writing than speaking, but I’m getting better every time.
Empowerment. The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
When Ms. Kai asked me, I thought of every reason I couldn’t speak today. Nerves. Too busy. No real experience. Not really making an impact with my life.
The other three speakers? Activists, political personas, 417’s Most Beautiful… These women are changing people’s lives on a grand scale. And me? Starving artist doesn’t exactly seem inspiring or empowering.
I read the definition again. The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
This was my opportunity to live that definition. And maybe I’m exactly the person to talk about this. Because I’ve found that the most common way we give up our power is by believing we don’t have any.
Muhatma Gandhi said “our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves”. How incredibly true that is.
The most courageous, empowering thing we can do is figure out who we are, our passions, our purpose, what we believe in and then live in that space.
I’ve been through a few things in my life. Who hasn’t? My story contains abuse as a child, then domestic violence, suicide attempts and a terrifying illness as an adult. It hasn’t always been easy. But if I let any one of those things define me, how would I grow and become more? No matter what challenges we face, no matter the difficulties that cross our paths, we can’t let them defeat us.
In fact, I’ve found that the people who encountered those challenges and difficulties typically have a better idea of who they are and what they stand for. They’ve been through hell and come out stronger so they know that they can conquer anything and come out on top.
They’ve developed the muscles of perseverance, courage and confidence. They’ve built them little by little as they continue to press on through the hard things.
As women, these are traits we need on a daily basis. Choices like speaking up in a meeting or telling someone not to treat us a particular way can be terrifying and empowering. Living passionately for ourselves and our vision can threaten other people’s security and we have to be strong enough to handle the criticism and scrutiny that comes with that.
Every action we take has an impact, good or bad. We make thousands of choices each day and I want mine to be choices that inspire my daughter and instill respect for women in my son’s life.
Every one of you was given a gift, a purpose, something that lights your soul on fire and makes you come alive. It might be parenting, it might be a cause that’s close to your heart, it might be being the very best at your job… Whatever it is, it WILL impact the people around you. You get to decide what kind of difference you want to make. You may think you don’t have much to give, but you will never know the impact you make when you dare to be true to yourself.
I make art and I write down random thoughts. I don’t know if that’s going to change the world. But what if it changed one person’s life? What if it just changed the time of their day? I think that’s enough.
It took me a long time to find my voice and now I refuse to be silent. I don’t ask who will let me do something anymore, I ask who will dare try to stop me.
What is your gift to give?
I promise if you find the confidence to be yourself and love yourself, you will make the impact you were meant to make and you will change the world. Individuals making a small difference means we are collectively changing the world. Decide to live in your purpose and be who you are meant to be.
You will never regret it.