As a woman who takes pride in being a single lady, I wonder if there will ever be a day when a woman’s worth is not connected to whether or not she got chosen.
Being a woman isn’t easy, but being a woman in the public eye of a “certain age” is even harder. While it is human nature to want our feelings and our experiences validated, it is important to note that your life isn’t anyone else’s. Golden Globe award-winning actress and our favorite girlfriend, Tracee Ellis Ross gave a word on that subject matter while giving a speech at Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year Summit.
The 45-year-old got real about the societal expectations imposed on women, specifically when asked presumptive questions about marriage and kids when you’ve lived life without either yet. And if it wasn't clear before, Ross spoke a little louder for the people in the back. Being single and childless at 45 is not the bottom line when it comes to her worth or any woman's worth:
“I dreamed about being chosen by a powerful, sexy, kind man who had full lips and gave good hugs and having a baby boy named Lauren. But…I also dreamed of winning an Oscar and being on the cover of magazines and making a difference in the world, helping women find our voices. And from that dreaming, I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be.
“And then someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how … ‘it’s never too late for your life to have meaning’ …and my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that have ‘failed’ on the marriage and carriage counts. Me! This bold, liberated, independent woman."
After listing her accomplishments, which include being fit, a hard worker, a good friend, a great daughter, having great credit, and even winning her Golden Globe, she said:
"I mean I'm killing it. So why? Why do I get snagged this way? As if all that I've done and everything I am doesn't matter. And I look back and think about all the ways that we are told that those two hashtag goals, being chosen and having kids, are what makes you worthy.”
Ross then went on to describe the four-word mantra that ultimately liberated her from dated societal standards:
“My life is mine.
“Those words stopped me in my tracks. Those words brought tears to my eyes. Seems so obvious, but obviously it wasn’t. Because I have NOT been living my life as it was my own. I mean to a certain extent yes, but on a deep level, no.
“So, if my life is actually mine…then I have to really live it for myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so.”
Tracee isn't the only woman who has been speaking out on the societal pressures to have kids and get married that women experience as they grow older. Rapper Eve recently disclosed that at the age of 39, she is often asked when she is planning on having kids and Gabrielle Union also revealed that people feel as though her marriage is her greatest accomplishment.
When people say, ‘You’re so lucky Dwyane Wade chose you,’ I’m like, ‘No, I chose myself.’ Once I chose myself and realized I was my best asset, not who chooses me, that freed me up to love myself in a way that allowed me to love other people better, which allowed our love to finally come in after years of back and forth and mental chess matches.
There are people that have asked and assume that my greatest accomplishment is
getting married and I’m like, ‘No, just being chosen isn’t an accomplishment.
When you choose yourself, you stop caring about whether or not you get “chosen.” And life opens up for that self-assured, new and improved beautiful magical brave you.
Let Ross inspire you to also choose yourself in her full speech below.