We all know Taraji P. Henson is one of Hollywood's most talented actors. She's won 28 awards to date, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama, and been nominated for many more, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
However, a part of her 2016 Women in Film speech after receiving the Lucy Award has been something that has stuck with me ever since I first heard it.
In her speech, she says, "I have to pursue my dream because, if I don't what, am I teaching my son? So I moved to California with $700 in my pocket and my toddler. And I have to fight the good fight because people are telling me I can’t. You can’t do this, you can’t — are you crazy? You’re moving to California with your son? You’ll never make it. I was 26 when I decided to come here. There’s the age thing. ‘Oh you’re too old.’ If you listen to people, and if you allow people to project their fears onto you, you won’t live."
"What if I believed those people who told me that when I became pregnant in college that I wouldn’t finish? I walked across that stage with my son on my hip and I collected my degree. My diploma."
"I didn’t hear the naysayers when they were like, ‘You’re too old to go to California, if you don’t hit by 25, you’re not going to make it.’ I will be 46 this year and I am just touching the surface. I am just getting started."
“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I had a passion, I had a dream, and I dived in and I went for my dream."
“It all starts with you. You’re the temple and you have control. You’re in a bad situation? It’s up to you to get out of it. You can’t give another human the responsibility of your happiness.”
The speech spoke to me, personally, because I became pregnant in college. People told me I wouldn't graduate — I did. When I moved to California with my 5-year-old son, people told me I'd be living back in Kansas (where I'm from) within a year. I was told "everyone hates their job" and it was a part of life that I had to accept, but I refused to believe that. I will be living in California — working at a job I love — for six years this February. I listen to Taraji's speech weekly as a reminder that I have the power to make my life whatever I want it to be.
Taraji is living proof that your life can be whatever you want it to be, no matter your circumstance. And I just want to thank her for helping us all remember that with the words she gave during her powerful 2016 speech.
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