By: Rebekah Hibbert, Guest Blogger September 3, 2015
To Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey,
I wanted to thank you.
We get put through a lot of scrutiny as females, don't we? The way we look, the way we dress, the way we act, it feels like it all has to fit into certain boxes. Yet the majority of us do not and do not want to fit in a box. But oftentimes we feel shamed for not doing so. I can't even imagine what it is like for both of you, constantly scrutinized and judged since you are in the public eye, and still, you have stepped up and stood out.
My entire young life I identified as an athlete. The soccer field was everything to me. It was where I made the majority of my friends, it was where I found confidence, and it was the one place I could be anything. As I got older I felt like I couldn’t identify just as an athlete; the pressure was on to be more. I also had to fit in to what society was telling me was the ‘perfect female body.’
image via ftw.usatoday.com
Maybe that is when the self doubts and insecurities crept in as a young adult, when the thing I identified with most, could not be the thing that I defined myself by. Being too ‘muscular,’ too ‘athletic,’ wasn’t enough and oftentimes it felt like I was being looked down on because of it.
I started to dissect my body. Prior to that, my body was the vessel to play sports; I never analyzed anything besides my play on the field but now I was analyzing what my body looked like. I ate to fuel my body to perform for my activities, but as I got older I started to scrutinize every calorie, obsessing over whether I really needed it. I became an adolescent defined by her body, not by her skill, and my self confidence took a hit.
Women like you were exactly what I needed at that young age and I am thankful that young women today have you for inspiration. You are women who refuse to let society box you in, or define your athletic ability by anything but your athletic ability. Women who let the world know being a bad ass makes you no less, in fact it actually makes you much more.
image via the-pool.com
This generation is lucky to have social media platforms that allow for you to speak your mind even when the mainstream media may not want to talk about it. While age has certainly decreased my own body insecurities I still look to women like you to deliver the message to more of these women than I ever could. To not only tell them but also show them, especially those who love to play sports and find their identity there, that the world’s standards will not define you. Your athletic ability will define you.
You will define what makes you strong and what makes you a woman. You will be known as an athlete first, and that will be more than enough.
What I really want to say is thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for refusing to sit on the sidelines. Thank you for being role models that inspire both young and old. Thank you for loving your bodies just as they are. Thank you for reminding me that I define my success, my beauty, and my self. Thank you for reminding all of us that being an athlete is an amazing thing to be.
Former Soccer Player
Who inspires you to keep being true to your passions and to yourself? Tell us below!
Rebekah works in Sports Medicine. It is her hope to represent the ‘real’ girl’s daily struggles and triumphs. In her free time you can find her running, lifting weights, reading, writing or trying new restaurants with her husband.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.