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Women speak approximately 20,000 words per day. Men only speak 7,000. That is a 13,000 difference. Now, are we all talk, and no bite?

I wonder about this, but first, allow me to introduce myself - my name is Taijah Menzies. I am from Long Island, New York, but my family is originally from the beautiful country of Belize. I am aspiring to be a psychologist, currently a sophomore at SUNY College at Old Westbury. I only wish to spread love, creativity, and knowledge of diversity with the rest of New York, all whilst learning how to conquer this concrete jungle we survive in.

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to help the people of this world. Mental health is not normalized and often goes unchecked. I propose to encourage mental health checks just as we do with physical doctor visits. I intend to start by encouraging young girls who may have the same vision but may not have been taught or shown how to utilize their courage. I have two young impressionable siblings that I influence every day with these same ideals. I can proudly say that when they are much older, they will face the world with pride and conviction.

I have been inspired by my experiences during my short but well-lived lifetime. I have moved around a lot due to financial and house instability. Along the way, I kept hearing about this change; change in our gender barriers and mental health systems, but rarely ever got to bite the fruit this great change bared.

I am a small multi-cultured girl in this big man's world. I received a cosmetology license by the time I graduated from high school, when what I wanted more than anything was not to play with hair. But to get my hands dirty with tools, grease and learn the art of automobiles like the rest of my male friends in high school.

I was a very quiet and vulnerable girl when I first moved back to New York, which was after living in Florida for quite some time. My high school offered great BOCES programs and though I attempted to join the auto mechanics program, I was tracked into cosmetology due to gender prejudices women still face today. It made me feel helpless and insecure. I thought maybe I just was not good enough to make it, maybe "they were right." All I could do was watch them from my salon classroom window doing cool things like building a bike from scratch. As a girl, I was always told what my aspirations should be, what my boundaries are; how I should have been born a man, poor me. But no one told me what I could have done if I just stopped listening, and listen to me.

Though I was wrongly placed by my school, I achieved so many real-world skills through cosmetology. I worked in a client-centered environment and even learned a bit of chemistry. Instead of being upset with what life was presenting to me. I achieved a special education at a young age that I can now use to help get me through college. Despite my past experiences, I learned new life morals that I will carry with me throughout life. I believe one needs to “Be the change and do not wish for it, work for it”. I intend to inspire and encourage other young brave girls to make the hard decisions I was not able to. I need them to be the women. Show the world what that means because you are wise, powerful, beautiful and a warrior.

Raise your daughters to be the warriors they truly are.

Do not close out the world, embrace and change it.

So that our children too will get to bite the great fruit change bears.

I’m excited to start by joining OWG as an intern, I will be making my first steps on the path of becoming a changemaker. My question to you is what will your role be: a bystander or a change-maker? Will your 20,000 words per day just be air? Or will you take action instead of words? Will you take part in this one world girl? I look forward to meeting you and making change together!


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