Someone told me that with all the work required to launch a new book, there was no way I’d publish my new novel on Leap Day. I just love it when someone suggests I can’t do something (because here’s the link to Waterwight, my new novel, published on February 29th: Waterwight)
This past summer I had an opportunity to reflect on other “you can’ts” that contributed to making me the person I am today. I discovered that Smith College was having a Leadership Conference the first weekend in April 2016 and was looking for panelists. Although I’m not a Smith grad, I decided to complete their 200-word essay application just for the heck of it. Here’s what I submitted:
In 1976 my guidance counselor told me Smith was beyond my reach. In 1978 during my sophomore year at Smith, the college president said I was making a big mistake leaving to attend West Point. Many believed I’d never graduate from West Point, but after proving them wrong and serving my country as an Army officer for thirteen years, I now stand with classmates from Smith and West Point who applaud successful women who continue to shatter barriers.
I laugh at myself frequently when I look back on how I’ve redefining success over the past decades. My memoir will be called “Danger! Comfort Zone!” because as the black sheep in a family of five girls, I’ve lived my life believing that with comfort comes complacency, and complacency breeds boredom. My three semesters at Smith opened my eyes to countless opportunities available to intelligent women. I wanted them all.
My success as a Smith student opened doors to experiences far beyond any realm of comfort. At West Point I redefined my goals and challenged myself on every front: academic, physical, and emotional. Graduating with the fourth class of women in what had once been a “No Girls Allowed” institution launched me into a life of increasing responsibility, and I loved it.
With each major transition—Smith to West Point, Army to civilian life, mom to teacher, teacher to author and mentor—satisfaction in my accomplishments grows. My credo: Embrace change. Challenge the status quo wherever you find it. Challenge yourself always.
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I’ll be heading to Smith College on March 31st and look forward to meeting three other women who will join me on the “No Girls Allowed: Game Changers” panel! I plan to have fun. Go ahead. Tell me I can’t.
2 replies on “Tell Me I Can’t”
Your story should be an inspiration to anyone, and not only women, but there’s no question that some have greater obstacles to hurdle than others. I’m so proud to know you.
Thanks, John. Our mutual admiration society is strong! You continue to inspire me in many ways.