It’s a photo of me.
I was about three years old and standing on my bed. How about the matching curtains and bedspread? Seeing it now, it looks kinda creepy.
My bed is a trundle bed—so cool for sleepovers. When I was in junior high my dad stripped off the white paint and refinished it. It got passed down to The Kid. We did get new mattresses for it, though.
I keep that photo of little debbie on the corkboard on my desk for inspiration. She expected me to be a badass woman, and I try to live up to her expectations.
I was very lucky because when I was a child, my parents always told me that I could be whatever I wanted.
Look at that photo; she’s a pirate in a flannel nightgown. Hands balled up, tucked, and ready.
That fierce little thing knew she could do anything.
She was the best bee and firefly catcher in the neighborhood, with a mayo jar and lid always close by. There may have been a measure of sugar and spice, but she was not afraid to mix it up, little boys did not mess with this little girl.
This little girl taught herself to swim by watching a kid at the pool. She never had any fear of water and often thought she might be part mermaid.
She had a freakish ability to catch. Footballs thrown from any distance and any speed were plucked out of the air into her little hands.
This gift turned her into her big brother’s cash cow as he placed bets with kids who hadn’t seen this unexpected, preternatural ability firsthand.
The little girl had tons of plans for the future. Why not, when her parents frequently told her there were no limits to her possibilities?
This little girl wanted to be a go-go dancer because she loved the boots and liked to dance.
This little girl wanted to be a performer and had plans to be in the Elvis Presley movies her mom loved so much and tour as a singer with the Partridge Family on their Mondrian-painted school bus.
This little girl loved horses and puppies and wanted to become a veterinarian to make sick animals all better.
This little girl wanted to have a job driving huge construction vehicles because they looked like “giant Tonka trucks”.
As the years passed, the little girl grew up. The fierceness remained, but the girl began to have small, quick feathers of experiences and lessons that came from all around. Feathers that by themselves weren’t weighty but multiplied by tens of thousands they acquire the ability to choke the spirit.
In high school, she learned that there were limits. Girls couldn’t try out for football, no matter how amazing their reception skills were. And some colleges were off-limits.
As an adult, the woman learned that many think women weren’t quite a fully formed human and needed to know their place.
Years passed; girls could play football, most colleges admitted women, and all occupations had trailblazing women working in them.
All except for one job.
And although over the years, women got tantalizingly close, there were just too many people who, unlike the woman’s parents, didn’t think that women belonged in that ultimate position, or adjacent to it.
The same year our little girl was born, another little girl was born. And this little girl remained convinced that she really could do anything.
That little girl grew up to be the very first female Vice President of the United States. And the other woman, this woman, is so proud and excited that we can tell girls that they can accomplish anything.
And really mean it.
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