I had never heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez until recently, when a new political documentary dropped on Netflix. I have always been a documentary fan, but I was initially not eager to put on this film while currently surrounded by daily depressing news of our political climate. Finally convinced by my more politically aligned partner, we sat down late in the evening to learn more about the American 2018 primaries. What I was not expecting in the next hour and a half was such an emotional rollercoaster.
The documentary centers on four congressional candidates who, at the time, had no previous political careers or involvement. We follow these women as they take on long-standing and influential Democratic politicians. We discover their struggles, beliefs, motives, and strategies and watch their journeys all the way up to the day of the primary results.
I would be lying if I said this documentary didn’t make me tear up at least 5 times throughout its duration. The women, and volunteers, were inspiring throughout, despite the ups and downs. In particular, one of these women, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has since become very well known across the world for her efforts and place in American politics.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Self-Affirming Pep Talk: Take Up Space
Approaching one particularly important debate against opponent Joe Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez pauses from her televised debate preparation to give herself a pep talk.
In this moment, she raises her arms and stretches out. She goes on to state “I need to take up space. I am here“.
As a woman, I particularly related to this moment. Dating back to old stereotypes of women’s roles, the phrase ‘seen but not heard’ comes to mind. Even modern-day phrases and habits such as ‘manspreading’ and ‘mansplaining’ often give the impression women shouldn’t ‘take up space’. The affirmation that you ARE here; you are allowed to take up space is a great way to boost confidence and remember your own worth as a woman and as an individual.
Affirmations From Alexandria Ocasio-Corte
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez goes on;
“I can do this. I am experienced enough to do this, I am knowledgeable enough to do this, I am prepared enough to do this, I am mature enough to do this, I am brave enough to do this. And this whole thing, this whole time, he’s going to tell me I can’t do this. He’s going to tell me that I’m small, that I’m little, that I’m young, that I’m inexperienced.”
The pep talk @AOC gave herself before her primary debate was so powerful. #KnockDownTheHouse pic.twitter.com/LSWU5lJbbW— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) May 3, 2019
She then proceeds to exhale deeply and pushes out, once again, her arms to physically reclaim her space and push away any negativity.
Her affirmations and pep talks are a great example of how we should all remind ourselves of our worth and capabilities. Public speaking can be TERRIFYING and we all get nervous at times. However, by focusing on your own power and imagining all the things that could go right, not wrong, we can learn to trust ourselves and gain confidence.
Related read: 8 Quotes From Empowering Women To Inspire Gender Equality
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