This thing in my hands is the culmination of 7 years of fighting a long and exhausting battle with my mind. While I initially applied to graduate school because I was obsessed with biology and the freedom of discovery, it was also the lack of female representation in STEM fields that made me want it even more. On top of that, despite the fact that I studied hard and smashed test after test, I found that my intelligence was continually being questioned due to the color of my hair and southern accent. Oh yes, even at scientific conferences, surrounded by some of the most brilliant people, did I hear things like "well you don't LOOK like a PhD candidate".
I had this constant negative voice in my head telling me that I wasn't smart, wasn't capable, and would never be respected for my brain. It wasn't until I was empowered by other women, namely my dissertation advisor, that I finally threw my hands up and said to myself, "You are allowed to love Disney princesses and DNA. You are allowed to say both "y'all" AND "intracellular signaling" in the same sentence. You CAN love pipettes AND eyelash extensions. You CAN teach group exercise AND teach molecular biology in the same day.
I know what it's like to feel like you're surrounded by people who think "YOU CANNOT." By the grace of God, I was able to spin that around and use it as fuel to GET IT DONE. I learned how to respect myself, and empower myself. Ladies, young and old, remember that you were made for greatness and to live a life that YOU choose. Just because it hasn't been done does not mean that it cannot be done.
It's scientifically proven that women have a higher threshold for pain and are built to endure. So, the next time you think you CANNOT (fitness related or otherwise), or that someone tells you that you CANNOT, remember that CAN is written all throughout your DNA. Nothin' you can do about that. Girlpower.
Yes. You. Can.