Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be known as “fierce”. As a kid I was as feisty and stubborn as they come, but I was also short and blonde and had a huge smile that I wore daily. I was “cute”. Always cute. Sometimes adorable, occasionally even pretty, but never fierce. Fierce was reserved for taller, slimmer women who were tan and wore lots of eye makeup and lots of black dresses.
That was never me. That could never be me. I would never be tall and slender, I would never have high cheekbones, and I was not the kind of girl who wanted to spend much time in front of a mirror.
I was taught that you earn words like awards, trophies you collect and frame for the world to see. And words like Fierce, Sexy, or Strong were not words I had earned. I did not look the part, so I could not play the part.
I was so, so tired of being cute. I grew resentful for my unintentionally naïve appearance and sweet smile. So I decided I would smile less, with the hope that I might be taken more seriously. But it never works to try to embody someone you are not, and I quickly realized my end did not justify my means. No single word could bear the weight of all I want to become.
So now I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and tell myself that I am fierce and sexy and strong. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing gym shorts and soccer cleats or 3 inch heels – I am a force to be reckoned with. And when I give myself this power, I don’t shrink anymore. I don’t feel small. I can stand tall in the strength I have taken for me, because I stopped waiting for permission to believe in myself. It was in me all along.