Defying My Limitations
Amina Scaletty, Division 2, 10th grade

In our society, so many limits are set on us, from who we are to what we can do. These roles act as a vice, strangling our voices and extinguishing our fires. I know that the world would be a much better place if I could defy the limitations the world decides for me. I want to allow my thinking to expand, as well as help others to do the same. I know that by allowing each other to grow and innovate the world around us, by refusing to let these barriers define us, we can change our part of the world, one barrier at a time.

My gender does not define me. Gender roles only hinder what I can do. I should not have to conform to these roles to find who I am according to the categories that society has set up for me. I am a powerful force that cannot be contained by pre-set limits. Who I am should not be limited to my gender, but to what I have shown I can do. We should allow people to grow without the hinderance that gender roles places on us because our society cannot grow if we are choosing to ignore each other’s accomplishments in favor of brain chemistry. Men can be nurses and teachers, and frequently are. Women can become scientists and astronauts, and they even make up almost half of the labor force, as stated by I know that I am put to a different standard because I am a girl. I am expected to care more about my hair than my brain or my muscle mass, so I am looked at as if I am a superhero when I can help carry a table out of the room or solve complex mathematics. I will continue to fight against this standard, to be as masculine or feminine as I want, because I want to. I will continue to do things that make me happy, regardless of whether I am seen as less of a woman. Women are powerful and smart. We are profoundly more than anyone ever expects.

Who I love does not define me. There are so many sexual and romantic orientations, and everyone should be free to choose their own, free of judgement and prejudice. For many members of the LGBT community who are open about their sexualities, it is terrifying to walk their dogs outside because, according to the New York Times, hate crimes are twice as likely to be committed against members of the LGBT community than the African American community. Many people in the LGBT community can’t come out to their family because they know it’s unsafe. Some of these people do it anyway, and are forced to move out, or are even killed for it, which is disappointing. These horrible things should not happen to people who only want love. We should not base someone’s worth based on who we love, or don’t love. We are a diverse nation, but we are smothering this variety that makes our country strong by shunning those who are homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and the countless others that experience hate or erasure. It is my goal to allow these people to feel free and comfortable walking down the street, holding hands with the person they love, even if they are in this detested community of love without boundaries.

How old I am does not define me. Who I am is what I want to do with my life and where I want to go. I choose to continue to prove that people are not their age, but what they want to do with their lives and how they are going to get there. People are their dreams and passions, their likes and dislikes. There are so many children who have done great things, from donating their savings to the less fortunate to giving up their birthdays for a cause. It is incredibly ignorant of us to act as though the moment you turn 18, you can change the world, but until then, you can only dream of doing powerful things. Elderly people, too, can have the desire to do amazing things with their lives, choosing to go on great adventures or achieve great knowledge. We cannot hope for a better world if we refuse to allow people to prove themselves as intelligent and dedicated to the improvement of our society if they are younger or older than we deem people’s opinions to be important.

In this world, so much of who we are is simply defined by who we are not. Not male, not straight, not old or young enough. By defying these boundaries, we can prove to the world that we are more than what they want us to be. We are the great thinkers of our times, limited only by the small minds of the masses. We are innovators, mathematicians, scientists, writers, artists. We are the hope for the world, and the only way that we can make the world a better place is if we continue to defy the things that separate and divide us. We can make the world a better place by defying these boundaries, and encouraging others to do the same.
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