This week my one and only daughter turned the magical age of 21. The flesh of my flesh, my progeny has come of age and officially claimed her “adult” title belt. In many ways she is typical of young women her age, interested in fashion, money and social media. She works full time and spends her down time between YouTube and Snapchat. Yet, I can say with pride that she is still very atypical of her age group. She is not overly fond of selfies, she has never twerked on video (that I know of), doesn’t like makeup and is hell bent on “not being like everyone else”. We had a conversation about her not ever being “normal”. I asked her where did she get the idea that was even in her blood, she didn’t come from normal parents, so her chances of inheriting normalcy were slim. However, I did point out that I found it interesting how for all of her abnormality, she had found her way into a normal job, with normal duties, in a normal city, making a normal paycheck and normally complaining about it like normal people do. She laughed and said I was a jerk. She told me she is just working the job that pays her the most money… for now.

I looked at my beautiful, newly dyed purple and teal haired child and life, all life, flashed before my eyes. Her life, and the thousands of lives I had lived and witnessed since her birth. In that moment I felt compelled to speak to her about life choices. That this age is one of the most important and crucial times in her life. I needed to convey to her just how powerful making choices based on well thought out strategies was in comparison to choices made by necessity from unplanned happenings. I needed to tell her this without sounding like I was giving her a sermon or making her feel like I believed her life was already destined for the normalcy she so desperately is seeking to avoid. I deeply desire for her to comprehend that while I have no regrets about the life I have created through my choices, I also understand that given a second chance I would have looked closer at the alternatives.

I always tell her; “Don’t have kids”. Today she retorted with, “I know, they ruin your life, right?” To which I responded, “No, but they most definitely change your focus, freedom and sometimes direction of your life.”

We talked about her boyfriend (first love) and if he were to propose to her, what would be her response. She wants him to finish college first. I asked her, what did she want for her life before marriage. She wasn’t sure. She told me that “some people just know what they want”. She sounded so impressed that her boyfriend just dove right into life, seemingly knowing exactly what he wanted. She had no idea what she wanted out of her life. I let her know that it was ok that she didn’t have an answer, it takes how long it takes, and then it might take even longer than that. I tried to be as encouraging and uplifting as I could be without it turning into another “Things mothers are supposed to say for 100 Alex” conversation. I didn’t want it to drag out, but I wanted to make sure she grasped the magnitude of what we were discussing. So I admonished her to not lose herself in her boyfriend’s life; to not become submerged in the titles and roles she could take on in his world simply because she didn’t know what role she plays in her own. I asked her to not be discouraged by not having all the answers and not to settle for less when she was meant for more. I let her know that in those moments she did feel discouraged that I will always be there to help guide her through. I think she got it. I wish I had this conversation when I was her age. I wish I clearly understood that there were more options than what I saw before me at the time. I think I would have got it too.

As women, too often that is exactly what we do. We forego writing our own life script for the opportunity to play bit pieces in other people’s lives. We take up the character roles as described by our families, our mates, society and then we do our best to act according to what they tell us we should be. Others may have a clear cut idea of who they believe they want you to be for them, but who are you for you? Do you know? Did you ever know? Have you been too afraid to find out? Each time we get into character, we lose a little bit more of our own reality until finally we forget who we were before we began the performance.

I shared this moment with my daughter in the hopes that another woman, mother, or daughter will take a moment to evaluate and OWN their choices. Own the fact that your choice is your power. We are POWERFUL beyond measure. We are beautiful, inspiring and great. We possess these things naturally. Our power cannot be taken, it can only be unclaimed. CLAIM your power by owning your choices. Do so unapologetically. Ask yourself, “Am I star in my own life, or a supporting actor in someone else’s?”