I was at work on Monday. People were sharing their reflections on various happenings at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. I heard about Michael Phelps and his awe-inspiring victory. I heard about this sport and that sport, and this hero and that hero. It all sounded quite nice, but I must say, I did not feel particularly compelled to watch any reruns.
Until I heard about Giselle, making her way down the runway at the Olympics Opening Ceremony. It was her last time walking the catwalk, my co-worker said.
I ran to the computer to catch a glimpse….
I have since learned that her performance was quite controversial, and made some scratch their heads. Negativity ensued….”Can you believe the slit in that dress?”, some said. I think that they forgot the setting of the venue. This is Brazil, the land of the beautiful people, in very little clothing. They are not nearly as puritan and uncomfortable with the female body as we Americans have a tendency to be. Then I heard that “It is inappropriate, it is out of place. It has nothing to do with sports…”
The female strut down the catwalk is an exercise in feminine pride and confidence. It takes years of practice to perfect the walk, take hold of the confident attitudes, and reprogram our brains, much like the preparation for the Olympics. Granted, it doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of physical stamina, blood sweat and tears….. BUT
Finding, possessing, and displaying confidence, for we women, is absolutely a sport. We have had to conquer the hurdles of negative attitudes and stereotypes that are hammered into our brains from an early age, and cultivated by others throughout life. We have run from insecurity and doubt that has been instilled in us in order to “keep us in our place”. We have lifted the weight of the world, in trying to solve every problem, fulfill every role, and try and be superwomen. We have had to endure the burden of trying to be everything to everyone, much like the endurance required by the Olympian. We have felt the sting of fatigue and exertion as we fulfill our daily roles, much like the muscular pain associated with prolonged physicality in the triathalon. There are times where we are simply running on adrenelin, when our psychological stamina has dwindled.
Do I exaggerate? Am I ridiculous? No, I think not. Overcoming the negativity, oppression, and sometimes abuse thrown our way is absolutely an exercise in mind conditioning. It is purposeful. It is hard work. A lifetime of focused, hard work.
Only with we women, if we take hold of that confidence, there will be no medal celebrating our victory. There will be no anthem played, no public recognition. No roar of the crowds. No bravado. I would argue that perhaps there should be.
Watching Giselle walk down the runway literally brought me to tears. I remember thinking that she was aptly named, as she had the grace and poise of the beautiful animal. Her hair floated in the breeze. She looked happy, proud, and confident. She looked like a woman who knew where she was going in life, who had goals, took hold of them, and planned her steps. Her strut down the catwalk made me proud to be a woman.
Today, when no one is around (or heck- when everybody is around), hold your head up high and pretend like you are floating down the runway. Get in touch with how that feels. Get in touch with your inner confidence, your inner Giselle.
Proud of you, Giselle. You get the Gold from Carol, and a standing ovation!