When I was little, I used to want to grow up to be strong enough to beat the crap out of any bully I encountered. No matter what their size, I wanted to be able to take them down to stop them from picking on other kids or getting their way. I wanted to be the Karate Kid who wins the tournament just because I wanted to win and to show the bad guys, once and for all, that I can kick ass. But, I’m not a big person or the strongest or the best athlete.
I never took any form of martial arts. Standardized tests told me I wasn’t smart enough for scholarships to go to my college of choice, or get a master’s degree. I’m 5’4″ and still have to climb the shelves in the dairy section to get milk for my coffee. I ride a small frame bike, and the wind can blow me over while I ride. I am facing the fact that I might get shorter as I age, but I hope I can honor the legacy of the 5’1″ force that is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
There’s a step stool in my kitchen for all of the things out of reach that has more or less become a metaphor for life. RBG made some of those things easier to reach for women: she gave us a step stool to level up in the eyes of the law. I used my step stool and climbed higher, getting the much needed scholarship and degrees along with the milk for my coffee too. For that, I am grateful for RBG.
I continue to climb above the bullies, the naysayers, the doubters, so now I don’t have to worry about beating the crap out of them. Instead, I’ll lend them a hand if they’re willing to change and accomplish more than just getting ahead. Let’s keep moving forward and continue the work that so many women have done, the work that RBG continued throughout her career. It shouldn’t end with her, but continue with you and me.
Get stronger. Know you can. And then, go and do it. There is no before or after, there’s only now.