Guest Contributor: Christine DaCosta
For so many years girls and women have been pushed aside and told they should be silent, be small, be pretty, but not too pretty. Be perfect, be a lady, be smart but not too smart. Basically, we girls have walked around being told how to look, think, act and feel from the day we were born. We are rarely invited to take up spaces. To grow. To Shine.
This is stifling to our growth in so many ways. Who knows what gifts are being hidden away or what talent has gone undiscovered. Who knows how much knowledge has gone silently to the graves of millions of women, past and present, because they were not permitted to share themselves with the world.
For hundreds of years women were allowed to be seen and not heard. Women were accessories. Referred to as prizes but treated like second class citizens. Not until recently have women begun to take back their power; to stand tall, be loud, to define and take up space.
This all starts with us determining our worth and putting that worth to work for us. I once said, “Girls are not consolation prizes that grow up to be accessories to their male counterparts.” This is true at home, at school and even in the workplace. I grew up knowing that I was supposed to be small, pretty and quiet. I was urged, over and over again, not to take up any space. That’s just not who I am. I am a beautiful, plus-sized woman, I take up space and I do it big. I wasn’t always this way. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t comfortable forming my own opinions and I always had so much guilt when I tried. I fought with myself for years until I realized that my calling was to speak up and be loud, to take up space and to be unapologetic about it. I am not a mean spirited person. I am nice, assertive and respectful. I simply know who I am, I know what I want and I will not compromise that for anyone.
Everyone comes to their awakening, I guess you could call it, differently and in their own time. Mine came in the form of writing. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I felt like I was locked in a cage and did not know the way out. Writing was my way out; my escape. I encourage everyone to find their outlet, find their voice and take up some space. Any form of self-expression works; writing, painting, dancing, singing. Whatever sets your spirit free! The best part is you’re doing it for you! It feeds your soul. It is a gift from you, to the universe! Even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, do it anyway. Do it loud, proud and with confidence.
There were so many things I was afraid to do when I was younger but being creative was the one thing that just came naturally to me. I sang and danced, I expressed myself through theater. I eventually wrote a lot of poetry and now I have a blog. My blog is a very real, very public diary. I share it with the world, or for about 500 people that have read it. I write mostly about female empowerment, but I also write other personal things. They key is to take one step, however small, take that step. It’s scary at first but it’s totally worth it.