My daughter is almost my height. She is fierce and strong and speaks her mind. She will NOT take shit from anyone, much to my delight. She gets out on the soccer pitch and throws her heart and soul into playing. She challenges the other team, she’s fast, she is not afraid. She is a force to be reckoned with. And alongside of all this, she is sweet and giving, kind and empathetic.
But sadly, when she plays soccer to her fullest effort, she is sometimes targeted by others for being “mean” or “violent”.
I have never once seen my daughter go out of her way to play dirty. When there are (inevitable) collisions on the pitch, she feels empathetic towards the other player, and offers a hand or an apology if the other girl is hurt. She has faced nasty responses from other girls, she faces gossipy texts that are accusatory of her strength not being a wonderful attribute, but rather a detriment to her own being.
We talk, her and I, when heading home from games. I applaud her strength in her spirit when facing this. I often say “Well, if the other girl doesn’t want to be accidentally kicked in the shins when going for that ball, maybe she should stay home and crochet a cozy for her tea pot and NOT PLAY SOCCER.”
I tell her to not be apologetic for her fierceness and competitive nature. Be proud of your strength and courage and do NOT bury it within girly wiles of softness and allowance. Allow it to become part of who you are! Do not let others define you by what they believe what a girl should be.
Pffft. A girl should be exactly who her heart demands. You want to kick ass and play sports? Celebrate your abilities and strong muscles? Go for it! You want to get that ball away in hopes of scoring? Yes! If you are hurt or hurt someone while playing sports, well…. that’s SPORTS. If you happen to be both kind and sweet and still vicious on that pitch, then that is exactly who you are supposed to be. Revel in it.
I guess my whole pride and support for her echoes within my own heart. While telling her to never be apologetic for her own strength and perseverance, I am telling my own self this as well. I am gently reminding me of being okay with who I am too. I am encouraging myself to stop those self-degrading motions of second-guessing and worry about how I may be perceived in this world.
We all need to honour our own strengths, and stop apologizing for being kick-ass women.