The walls were adorned with posters of Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem. And there was always a stack of Ms. Magazine in the corner, which we were free to take.
The UCLA Women’s Resource Center was cozy, but quiet. It was supposed to feel welcoming and warm, the kind of place you’d want to go if you needed support. Situated in the basement of a humanities building, it was a refuge for young women, a place where you didn’t have to shout to be heard, a place where your voice mattered – no matter how meek.
The Women’s Resource Center was the gateway to feminism for 18-year-old me. They offered workshops for women only, which I dutifully added to my calendar. I dropped by regularly to flash the gal at the desk a shy smile and grab a calendar of events. The Women’s Resource Center was the beginning of what eventually became a minor in Women’s Studies – and consequently a lifetime of answering the wearisome question, “So what IS Women’s Studies?” (Or the even more wearisome, “Feminism is obsolete now, isn’t it?”)
It was there that I attended a workshop very simply titled, Women’s Assertiveness Workshop. When I told my mom about it, she asked, “What did you need to take that for?” She believed she raised an assertive daughter, someone who asked for what she wanted and told others how she felt. A daughter who aways used please and thank you (except when people are A-holes, then you just do what you want and ask for forgiveness later).
I like to think of assertiveness as being bold. The thing was, I was plenty bold until about 13-years-old, when I entered middle school. That’s when I learned that sweet girls – that is, quiet, modest, and good girls – earned the attention of both teachers and boys. And that’s exactly what I wanted: the attention of teachers and boys. But despite my best attempts of being a sweet girl, I got neither. I was lost in a sea of other girls doing the very same thing.
I quickly unlearned how to be the bold child that my parents tried to raise.
All that sweetness got me straight to university. Where I then had to relearn how to be bold. And I’ve been relearning ever since.
The name for this blog was inspired by two things:
- An experimental piece of short fiction, which you can read here.
- My quest to reclaim my boldness.
I am writing in bold because it is the only way to write. It is the only way to share my truth and live authentically. For me, bold is being curious, trying something new. Bold is being unflinchingly real, being youer than you, even when it’s the unpopular option. I believe that our lives are better when we are bold.
But bold is not being rude or thoughtless or mean. Bold is admitting when you’re wrong and saying you’re sorry. Bold is being courageous enough to march onward, to make a change, while still having the grace to stop for someone who needs your help along the way.
And so, this is what I offer through this blog: a slice of my experience as I relearn what it means to be the open and true and bold person I once was. It’s funny that it only took a year to unlearn boldness, and yet here I am two decades after my freshman year at UCLA, still relearning how to be bold. I suppose that’s just life, isn’t it? A journey. Sometimes you have to double back and retrace your steps.
What does being bold mean to you? Do you consider yourself a bold person? If so, have you always been bold? If not, do you aspire to be bold? I would love to hear your experience.
Follow WritingInBold.com on Bloglovin’
Other Things to Read