If you’ve read my blog about how I got inspired to do what I do, you would know that I was born and raised in the Philippines. Particularly, in a city that seemed always behind on trends and definitely still accustomed to the traditional Filipino ways (at least that was the story of my childhood). It was a place where the man of the house was the bread winner and the mother was usually a homemaker. It was back when ladies required suitors and not this casual dating “thing” that Americans seem to prefer. In lack of a better term, my childhood has witnessed an “old-fashion” way of life.
I decided to support the #banbossy campaign because as a child, I remembered having to quiet myself a lot after a very defining moment that changed the way I behaved. Let me start by telling you all about how I became a “cheerleader” when I was in kindergarten. My school was organizing some kind of parade and our teacher wanted our class to perform a routine with pom poms and everything. At our first day of practice, for some reason that I can’t remember, I was wearing a whistle as a necklace. So my teacher turned to me and basically told me to be the “cheerleader” simply because I had a whistle. So we practiced for weeks, I was the only one on the stage and the rest of my classmates were behind me, following my lead. That felt amazing! I loved being the lead.
In elementary, my mom transferred me to a well renowned all-girls, Catholic school. The funny thing was, they allowed boys until 6th grade. I don’t remember all the details but I remember being the president of my class. I remember being so strict, possibly too strict. When the bell rang, it was a school rule that everyone has to line up outside of the classroom. When the teacher arrives, we all walk in class in a line formation. The boys were always playing too much. When the bell rang and I see some of them still playing, I remember scolding them or grabbing them by the shirt to make them fall in line. I laugh about it now because of how strict I was trying to be. I remember some of the boys making rude comments when I’m instructing them to fall in line and stay in line and I would snap back and remind them who the president is (I crack myself up now that I think about it)!
Long story short, the boys didn’t like the way I ran the class and of course they influenced as many girls as possible not to vote for me again in 2nd grade. I may have been too brash, but it changed me. It definitely decreased my self-esteem and I never really ran for any official position ever again in that school unless people appointed me. I started believing that nobody liked the way I lead and that they didn’t respect me as an authority. If someone would have just explained to me what was really going on, or that I just need to adjust my methods, that I’m doing a good job, maybe I never would’ve stopped being a leader. I can totally relate to the stories on www.banbossy.com – because of my experience, I started leaning back instead of leaning in.
When I moved to America, I slowly regained that leader inside of me because it was a fresh start, nobody knew me and most importantly, I had no history of being a strict leader. I was the secretary of our ASB and Captain of Dance Squad. I also held authoritative positions in choreographing the bi-annual gala and taking lead on assisting the art teacher during class.
Funny enough, one of my aunts from the Philippines visited me here in the states and after a long talk of why I’m still single in my late 20’s (a few years ago) she tells me “Well maybe you need to be more quiet. Your personality is too strong, no man is going to like that. You have to be more gentle and sit back a little….” – WOW! That is totally NOT who I am, which just means any man will have to work hard enough to get through to me! I am not leaning back again because males can’t handle me. Well I’m happy to say that a few years later, I now, have a boyfriend who loves me for who I am!
See, people who are born leaders will eventually show themselves. Regardless of all the discouragement, leaders can’t help but lead. We enjoy that responsibility and we thrive in it! Beyonce is a great example of a leader. She runs her business well, represents herself well, was the first artist to release her album independently and did well, etc… Oh, and she’s got haters! 🙂 – That’s another important thing to remember. There is not one person on earth who doesn’t have “haters.” Even Jesus, Son of God, has haters. When you are a mover and a shaker, you are bound to have followers and also have haters. Sadly, that’s how human nature works.
Seeing this campaign means the world to me. I recently started teaching about Social Marketing and #BanBossy is one heck of a Social Marketing Campaign!