Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Carve Your Place in the Universe | Ellen Bourne

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Young women saying things like:

‘Oh, I’m just not as smart as you/that smart/I don't think there's too much in my head.’ 
That breaks my heart. 
 I made myself intelligent. That was what I wanted to be. I read over 100 books on philosophy, science, social sciences and history within two years. I insured my own intelligence, cultivated it and forced it to grow. I forced myself to be competitive for marks at university. Sometimes all it ever took was a single lecturer or tutor sending an email to say, 'I gave your piece of writing the highest in the class,' after I had opened up about struggling with class presentations due to persistent panic attacks. 
Sometimes all it takes is the sharp pop of drops of fresh fruit juice, melding into your tongue. The taste of that elusive ripened flesh you know you can bite into if you have the courage to shimmy up the high branches, and smear willow bark over the swollen cuts you receive in the fight to get up there. 
Just as you can make yourself beautiful, you can make yourself smart. One of my favourite stories is that of Holly Madison, Reality TV star and author, who stole the show created by American Network E! During the preliminary interviews the producers asked her, 'When did you realise you were beautiful?' With an acid snap she replied, 'I never realised I was beautiful. I made myself beautiful.' 

Doesn't the reality that you can MAKE yourself beautiful, intelligent, etc, prove that you can MAKE yourself anything? There's nothing wrong with concentrations on aesthetic, but I believe we need to concentrate just as much on cultivating the lives - within and without - we want to live as women. To cultivate these things for ourselves, so that come rain, shine, friendlessness or singledom, we can stand on our own psychological, financial, morale and eudaimonic feet. 
Have the courage to carve your own place in the universe.

Xo,

Ellen