The path back to life manifests in crazy twists and turns. Like many, I was born to a father that wanted a son first. As such, I became the boy that my father wanted in girl's clothing (sort of). I played on his all-boys' baseball team and league -- first base and designated hitter -- to the chagrin of my brother and all his friends. When the fervor of such atrocity hit a chord, as would naturally follow, due discourse with my father ensued. "Dad, I'm not a boy, and I think it best I do something girls do." Such a comment is stronger now than ever if you sneak a peak at Emma Watson's UN speech as our newly minted ambassador for women.
My guess is that something she said, plus something I've experienced would have me share this with you now. Personal power and strength belongs to each of us. Where we find it is of course unique because we're all gifted with special talents. For me personally, it's been both athletic and academic. Later in life, it involved society. I've written that I've lost far more than I won, and that is true. I didn't win Wimbledon as I hoped, nor a gold medal in downhill at the Olympic Games. My fairy tale dreams never came close to happening. Yet, with all the fairy tales that came crashing to the ground came an understanding of what is uniquely feminine personal power. Something that can't be bought or sold, and is only found in one place -- heart center. Yeah, you can do a downward dog.
For me, it's been a reckoning to understand at least for now that it doesn't involve anyone other than me -- that's right, a knight in shining armor isn't coming around. It doesn't matter how talented, how beautiful, how special, how anything -- our course as women has come to be that we must endeavor to be heroic on our own without an obligatory attachment to men. It is really hard as women when we've been sold tales for generations to believe time has come a day -- but it has. Is it the feminist movement that I've so much opposed for reasons that I felt didn't give women an option to choose a more "traditional way" a choice? Can't say. But what I do understand is that times have changed, for better or for worse. Our daughters, ourselves. Understand one thing -- nobody should give up personal power to anyone, for any reason -- male or female.
And the path back to life -- I had no idea it would go back to basics the way it has. To have me return to days of true personal power, found on a tennis court or a ski hill, where yes you can smile as a girl or a woman, but grunt and bear it in a way that no man would ever mess with you. There's a really fine line between femininity, grace and survival. I concur with Ms. Watson that we have nothing to excuse for being brilliant, strong, athletic, stunning, creative and every other aspect that could define a woman. We don't need to make a point, but can and must hold strong. So whatever your medium, I implore you to find it, reclaim it if necessary, and make it your own. No apologies needed for being a man or a woman with all due respect.