My Manifesto for Girls

surf schoolBy Grellyn Paoad[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap]n years, I am young; in experience, I am lacking. I have barely grasped the adult world yet, with all its intricacies and protocols. It can often be a scary and daunting place to navigate, and there are times when my heart is filled with fear and doubt.

Yet amidst all the confusion, I am guided by an inner strength that pulls all my shaking parts together. I have my inner wisdom to listen to – and right now it is saying that despite all the changes happening in my life, I should never give up on my ideals.A woman must learn to adapt, but she must not allow her soul and values to be compromised in the process. To give value to her “Yes,” she must learn to say “No” to those that make her less of what she is.

After all, what is a woman without her principles?

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] refuse to be measured by my gender.

I am living in an era of endless opportunities– an achievement countless women have shed a lot of blood, tears, and sweat to pass onto my generation. Even though many glass ceilings have already been broken, stereotypes that need to be smashed linger.

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] refuse to be sexualized, to be viewed as a trophy, or to be displayed like a mannequin. I have brains as sharp as my stilettos (if I choose to wear them) and I’m not going to let my ideas rot to please someone’s ego. I don’t need to ooze testosterone to be successful in the endeavors I pursue. Most importantly, I don’t need a man’s fat purse to feed me – I can earn my keep and fund brick by brick my queendom.

Yet, I am also aware that there are still many women who lack the education, the choices and the freedom to blossom into their fullest potential. It is my responsibility to extend my hand, arm them with a hammer, and help them break through that barrier of repression and inequality.

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] refuse to allow myself and any female be taken for granted, underestimated, and condescended because we weren’t born with a rod hanging out of our anatomy.

I refuse to be defined by my status.

If I had a child at a young age, I will raise up my chin because I had bravely chosen to respect the life that had formed in my womb. If I am a single parent, I will be proud that I was strong enough to make the decision to receive this gift alone; knowing that the happiness it will give will make up for whomever that has disappeared in my life.

If I am already married, I will show the world that I am still very much alive, that I can thrive with my own identity and has not faded under my husband’s shadow. My life is definitely not over just because I tied the knot.

If I am single, I will not yield to the pressures of finding someone to “complete me.” God’s love pervades my entire being and I am totally, completely, perfectly loved.  I know I will never be happy in a relationship unless I have learned how to be happy on my own, and will not rush into a relationship that is bound to be futile. I will instead wisely use this gift of time to embark on more adventures, develop myself, and serve the world.  Whether I meet God’s best or not in this lifetime, it will be okay because I am still fabulous no matter what.

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] refuse to measure my happiness based on my status. The real essence of a woman is how she has played the cards life has dealt her with. She is not defined by her number of baby bumps or her ability to find Prince Charming, it is how she lives her life gracefully and fiercely in whatever circumstances she is in.

I refuse to be boxed by society’s conventions or by what others think I should do.

I respect rules and I know how to listen but in the end, I’ll have to rely on my inner compass to determine whether I am taking the right path or not. We all have different journeys set for us– Dorothy was meant to be whisked to Oz while Alice was destined to stumble upon Wonderland.

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] am living in a time where the world is rapidly changing– the old structures are crumbling and the gatekeepers are leaving. In this daunting yet exciting climate I must create myself with the freedom to become more creative, innovative, and flexible.

But of course, there will always be resistance, and people will always tell you what they think you should do. This is where a timeless principle comes in– one must have the courage to pursue one’s dreams before it is too late, and must not let the critics steal them away.

It is this realization that has emboldened women in the past to leave their comfortable lives in the East and hitch their wagons to the West, or sacrifice a cushy corporate job in the present to hit the road and travel, or perhaps depart Earth in the future to become a Star Trek explorer.

They all have heeded their personal callings, however crazy or impossible they may sound.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] refuse to believe that I am unworthy of my dreams and that I am incapable of achieving them. I will not go through life ticking off a checklist of must-haves–

I will blaze my own path and live life on my own terms.

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