As I prepared my speech, I went back and forth about what I would say. How theoretical and analytical I would be or how motivational and educational my speech would seem. It was not until the morning of the event that I finally decided to write from the heart. These students did not want to hear the same lectures about college survival and how to get a job after graduation. They wanted and deserved more. So I kept it basic. I reverted back to what I knew and to what motivates me daily. Here's a few excerpts from my speech:
"BELIEVE! I'm not talking about delusions of grandeur or unfounded folds of denial, I'm addressing the core belief that you are amazing and because you are amazing you can achieve anything you believe you can. This unwavering belief in your abilities doesn't always happen overnight and I have three very unconventional steps to help you get to that point. Of course, that's who I am, I'm unconventional not by force but by choice. So these are MY steps, MY suggestions to you: (1) Be Fierce; (2) Be Fabulous; and (3) Be Flawless.
Fierce is defined as being menacingly wild, savage, or hostile. A little extreme isn't it? Being 'wild' doesn't have to mean being out of control but can mean living with force, strength, and tenacity. To be fierce is an attitude. It is a demeanor, it is a poise. It is a way of living your life with little reservation. No need to apologize for who you are. Be strong in your presence but learn to walk that line between overly aggressive and assertive. "
After defining the first step, a female student raised her hand to ask a question. The fact that she raised her hand didn't surprise me but what she said did. She asked, "how did you find someone that could handle you?" Before I could answer she went on to tell a story about her and every guy she tries to date that tell her she's too strong and too independent. She even said that she has been told that she wants to achieve too much! Ludacris I know! At first I was taken aback but then after looking around the room at the faces of all of the young women, I realized they all wanted to know the answer. Was I supposed to be meek and mild or devalue my accomplishments or what I can achieve? Instead of answering her immediately, I told her to let me finish and I promise I would answer your question before I leave. So I continued:
"Fabulous means almost impossible to believe; incredible. To be fabulous is the combination of your outward appearance and your inner spirit. Take pride in how you appear to others. As a leader you will always be prejudged and far too often you will not get a second chance to make a great impression. Put your best foot forward. Invest in yourself by putting yourself first. I'm not talking about not caring for others but in order to truly lead others you must know how to lead your own life. To truly be incredible is to believe you are! Make yourself a priority and your presentation be the best you have any given day."
With no interruptions this time, I continued: " We have all heard the word flawless in the context of women especially for those Beyoncé fans. Flawless is having no defects or faults, especially none that diminish the value of something. To be flawless is to love yourself unconditionally flaws and all. To understand that you are imperfectly perfect and that it's not your responsibility to conform to society but to find your niche. My greatest lesson in my life was learning how truly valuable I am. It was an eye opening experience. Realizing my strength, discovering my abilities, and uncovering how powerful I am. I am unstoppable and so are you!"
After finishing with my final step, I was sure that I had answered her question. However, she still stared at me patiently waiting for my answer. You would think she was the first to ask me that question, unfortunately she was not. However, she has been the first so boldly to address my presence. I have a very dominant presence and many would think that because of that my husband is a weak man. Contrary to popular belief he is not! He is an Alpha Male and I am an Alpha Female. He found me! Not because of my beauty (I'm sure it helped) but because I didn't need him to define me. I knew exactly who I was and I wasn't afraid to show it. She said "that's so me, ok there's hope for me too!" We all shared in a quick laugh but the notion that a woman could not be like me and find someone to love her was disheartening. I encouraged her that to be believe in yourself and your abilities is not arrogance or some flaw that drives men away. It is a blessing to be cherished and sowed to guarantee your future harvest!
I will never stop believing in myself and I swiftly hit the autocorrect when I doubted my value when I was asked to deliver the speech.
To answer the question whether to be or not to be fierce, fabulous and flawless...I choose TO BE! On any day, in any situation, I choose to be...Forever Fierce, Fabulous and Flawless!