You’re not famous. Not even close. You’re just a sixteen year old girl trying to finish high school. You keep your brothers out of trouble, you listen to music, you fill out college apps, you spend time with your friends, you do homework. Sometimes you eat too much or stay up too late. Your feeble attempts to juggle all of your Jewish teenage girl activities don’t seem very special.
Yet, you are a woman – or somewhere in that awkward stage between little girl and full grown woman. And that simple biological factor puts you, amazingly enough, in the same category as Elizabeth Blackwell, Marie Curie, Sarah Imainu, Rachel, Leah, Jane Goodall and the countless other females who have left immensely formidable impressions. And as you struggle to keep all of your comparatively insignificant balls in the air, you wonder how you can ever hope to measure up. You’re not nearly smart enough, nice enough, brave enough, or good enough. But you are woman.
You haven’t a clue what you’ll become, what you’ll achieve, where you’ll go, who you’ll meet. Great women didn’t have a clue either. They stumbled, they tripped, and sometimes they fell with a resounding crash. Elizabeth Blackwell failed to save her first patients, Marie Curie died from the radiation of her own discovery. Just like you, sometimes one of their balls slipped, fell, and rolled away into a corner. But they forged on.
You see, right there, behind your awful mistake, your failing grade, your embarrassing misspeak, your petty fight, is where your greatness is hiding. You’re just you. But you can bend down, pick up that dusty ball, and return it to the air. You can decide to not wallow in your insignificance, your absolute tininess, and just throw everything you’ve got at life. Pelt everything you do with your unique collection of quirks, habits, talents, sensitivities, and traits. You are woman, whether you turn out to highlight mommy, teacher, businesswoman, or professional. Right now you’re more child than woman. And it’s hard. You make mistakes. Sometimes it hurts. But keep juggling even when it’s nearly impossible. Even when most of your balls are scattered on the floor. No, keep juggling especially when you seem to have lost it all. And when you do, that’s greatness.
With best regards,
Confident, Secure, Courageous Me
~ Ariella Bartfeld