I consider myself to be a strong, independent, mindful woman who is more than willing to speak her mind and listen to her body. In this age of empowerment where women’s issues are at the forefront of conversations both in day to day life and on a greater scale in advertising and politics, I am constantly reminded how far we’ve come as women and how far we have to go in terms of equality.
With International Woman’s Day on March 8th this year, adidas reached out and asked me who or what inspires me, so I’m taking the time to thank those trailblazing women, one in particular, that helped me (and all women) become who we are- and can be- in today’s world. For me, the woman who has inspired and continues to inspire me today is my mother. A little background on me- I grew up in an incredibly athletic household with strong roots in sports on both sides of my family. I was essentially born running, which led to a lifelong love affair with soccer and track. And with an older sister and a younger brother who both played multiple sports as well, it’s needless to say that we were constantly on a field, at the rink, or on the court and constantly wearing out sneakers. This led to healthy competition both between siblings and with our peers. With that much emphasis on competitive drive, it would have been easy to fall into the trap of being single-minded and constantly focused on being ‘the best,’ but my mom always made sure that no matter what we were doing, which travel team we were on, or what international tournament we were traveling to, that we were having fun. She made sure that there wasn’t too much pressure placed on us to have that ‘stereotypical jock’ mentality- we were always allowed to say no, that it wasn’t what we wanted or if there was an issue she had our backs no matter what.
As an adult I realize what a gift that was. I was given the option to be exactly who I wanted to be and choose what I wanted to do. I could be, and was, a huge nerd obsessed with reading every book on the Barnes and Noble classics list and get equally excited about a new pair of shinguards. For many women growing up when my mother did, that wasn’t an option. My mom was a trailblazer in her own right- before Title Nine she played on boy’s sports teams, kicked butt at water sports and in the classroom, and from stories I’ve heard was quite a sassy lady in the best way (she still does speak her mind incredibly eloquently!) This trickled down to me, not by force but by choice and example. She proved that you can be feminine and a badass human at the same time.
We were always active as kids. Outside of the typical sports teams my mom made sure that nature was our classroom. I was on a horse before I could walk, we went camping and hiking and playing in rivers, and we were allowed to be kids and run a bit wild and barefoot. An emphasis on wellness both in mind and body was ever-present in my life. And while I know that these lessons in physicality were important, what I’ll always be most grateful for is having learned that I have a voice that matters.
It is that voice, that confidence, that empowerment in my own identity that allows me to be the woman I am today- to speak up when I have something to say, to not back down when a coach attempts to belittle me by mistaking tears for weakness, and to use my voice, my privilege, and my power to protect, empower, and lift up those around me. I wouldn’t be who I am if my example of what a woman was wasn’t my mother. I am forever grateful and incredibly blessed to have her in my life and in my corner. Mom, thank you for showing me that being exactly who I am is exactly who I should be.
This post is sponsored by adidas. All opinions are my own.