Every year Atlanta plays host to an enormous convention, DragonCon, which celebrates all things delightfully nerdy. The weekend includes events that cater to ever major sci-fi and fantasy interest out there. It’s hilarious and a little surreal to wait behind an obscure anime character, a giant T-Rex, and a Disney princess for your morning coffee. I started volunteering in Disability Services a couple of years ago and it’s quickly become something I look forward to all year long.
But this blog isn’t about DragonCon in particular. This post is about a vivacious 4 year old dressed up as Rey from Star Wars. Little ‘Rey’ was waiting in line with her parents and not only was she just the cutest thing in her tiny costume, but she caught my attention as a counselor, and I really had to watch her for a moment before I understood why.
Little ‘Rey’ was the antithesis of everything we have been taught as women.
Watch her below!
As I watched her that afternoon, I saw a little girl who was comfortable in her skin. She hadn’t yet been tainted by beauty industries telling her she needs to lose or gain weight, wear more or less make-up, or be more or less sexy. Her mom was black, and father white, yet no stigma about her creamy coffee-colored skin touched her as she twirled around.
As a result of this fearlessness, she boldly took up space in the room. So often, we see women who seem to shrink into themselves. This underlying message women hear that being too much (literally or figuratively) will scare off a man hadn’t yet reached little ‘Rey.’ she audaciously lunged and stretched her arms out, alternately cradling her light-saber toy, and reaching out with her hands. She was comfortable with the spotlight, and she reveled in putting on a show for waiting crowds.
Little ‘Rey’ was also 100% authentic; something that I think many people really struggle with. So often, the messages we receive growing up impress upon us the importance of fitting in with the herd. Historically, people who shy away from social norms are ostracized, and seen as odd. This tiny little girl showed no fear of derision. She let her natural flair for the dramatic and love of Star Wars lead her across the floor as she connected with everyone around her. I watched her as she twirled like a Whirling Dervish, eliciting smiles, high-fives, and hugs from the crowd. It was truly a sign of great parenting that she connected so easily with the other people in line.
…and I just thought. Wow. If every woman in my office lived her life like little ‘Rey’, I would happily be out of a job.
When you consider how you live your life; how much of your path is shaped by the fear of being authentic, the fear of taking up space and the fear of loving who you are? How often do these feeling prevent you from being in a genuine relationship with the people around you?
If in your heart, you feel like you can’t be like little ‘Rey’, I encourage you to take some time to consider why that is. If you need a little help figuring it out, talking to professionals like myself is a great first step.
And if little ‘Rey’s mom is reading this; BRAVO ma’am, and thanks for letting me feature your beautiful and inspiring little girl.