A friend of mine sent me this article a few days ago, detailing an amazing story of a small girl who followed the theme that we all talk about and strive for. Owning It. The short story is about Nujood, a 10 year-old girl, whose father arranged for her to be married to a man in his mid-thirties. Her husband was physically and sexually abusive towards her and treated her as a slave and animal. She knew this was not right and snuck away to find a judge and get divorced, not at all a common practice in her native country, Yemen. She has gone on to write her memoir as a 10 y/o divorcee and has now inspired other young girls in similar situations to do the same.
I think her story merits a bit more time and attention than we usually offer- as she has not been afforded the many privileges and comforts that we often forget are not universal in all countries and societies. Such as equal rights for women, equal opportunity to education, financial stability, societal approval of independent women, and laws protecting minors of sexually exploitative relationships.
Nujood exemplifies a different kind of "Owning It". A lot of our experiences with Owning It relate to taking risks, improving our self-esteem, finding meaning and value in our lives, and remembering what is important. And don't be mistaken- these are all great things!! But Nujood was owning her future, her life, her safety and essentially Owning the future path for other girls in her same circumstance.
She saw truth when all the people around her told her to believe otherwise and tried to convince her of the lies. She stood firm and sought out what was good and right, even when the people closest to her allowed her to enter into a relationship that was wrong and dangerous for her. by herself. alone. as an individual- she went up against religious practices, societal expectations, unequal gender roles, deep-seated cultural norms, the disapproval of her community, and her abusive husband. How scary to challenge and stand firm against all of this at only 10 years and in a society and culture that does not support her!
I, as all of you, try as much as I can to Own It in the best way I know how: the little every day things. Accepting compliments. Taking risks in my career. Not complaining and looking for the good. Accepting feedback, even when its hard. Helping others. Pushing myself and not giving in.....Just to name a few. And when I think of the magnitude of Nujood's situation and the choice she made in her life, for her life- I am not only inspired, but moved, even compelled to Own It. I realize that there are SO many examples and models to follow and be motivated by, I have no excuse but to keep at it- even when its really hard!
My admiration goes out to Nujood and the girls that have followed her for Owning It- when her life depended on it.