When I was a kid, I played a lot with boys. There was only one other girl in my class and till the end of primary school, all classes were mixed, including physical education. We played football together which I LOVED - I was actually one of the best people in my year. I felt powerful and strong.

It all changed when I went to middle school (“gymnasium” in my home country). All of a sudden P.E. classes were divided into boys and girls. 

Boys got to do the fun things, like playing the “manly” team sports that included football, and girls did gymnastics and volleyball (I sucked at both). That’s when I began to understand that I’m different and I “should” do other things. That “should” quickly spread out into other areas of my life.

I’ve learned that as a girl I "suck" at maths, physics, and logical thinking. That I should focus on literature, languages, and arts. 

I also learned the importance of looking good, dressing nicely, and being polite and quiet. There were grades for good behavior and anything below "A" was a disaster for a girl.

It took me a long time in my adult life to shake off those beliefs that got so deeply ingrained in me. Believe it or not, but when I developed a fondness for photography, I would hear that I would never be able to make it my career because it’s a male-dominated world! 

Today I’m so happy I didn’t listen to those voices!

I’m also excited to see other women pursuing their dreams, whether it’s in arts, photography, tech, business, or motherhood... There are so many opportunities for us in the world, don’t let the world tell you what you can or cannot do!

That’s why today I want to encourage you to do two things:

1. If you have a young girl in your family, instead of telling her “you look pretty”, tell her “you’re strong”, “you’re capable” and “I believe in you”, so in the future, she can believe in herself. It’s SO important.

2. If you have a female friend you admire for any reason - tell her today! She’s not your competition - she’s a warrior, just like you, fighting her battles. 

Finally, I want to wish all of you precious female souls you find your own voice and follow it, no matter what. You only live once and this is your chance to show the world what lives inside of you. Use your talents, and passions and screw what everybody else tells you! You are unique, you are powerful and you are a gift to this world. You are enough.

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