Mae Jemison: Breaking Free from the Slavery of Normal

I love reading about famous women in history who have rocked the boat and defied the boundaries and limits society tries to put on them. For Black History Month, I want to talk about an incredible woman I didn’t even know about until I saw her picture and description on someone’s Instagram page last week. Her name is Mae Jemison, and after reading up on her, I’m embarrassed to have not known about her already and am inspired by the approach she takes to life.

Jemison was born October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. When she was three, her family moved to Chicago. She was interested in space as a little girl.

“I always assumed I’d go into space,” she said. “I thought, by now, we’d be going into space like you were going to work.”

Jemison watched Star Trek every week, and Lt. Uhura, a black female communications officer, allowed her to dream about working in the field herself, even though no black woman had gone to space yet.

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No One Controls My Greatness But Me #GirlsCan

I watched this #GirlsCan ad spot for Cover Girl this morning and just love the empowering message it sends. It got me thinking about the times I’ve been doubted and told that I “can’t” do something.

You know the saying, “misery loves company,” right? People tell you what you can’t do when they weren’t able to do it themselves. It makes them feel better if you can’t do it either, so they want you to believe that to be true. To them, it must be true, because it is what they believe. They have decided that something is impossible. That’s their truth.

I can’t even count how many times in one day I hear the words “You Can’t.” I’m so used to hearing it and brushing it off as a lie, but there are certain instances where I’ve had to step back and tell myself, “Yes I Can.”

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