When Kamala Harris began her victory speech the night Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election she came to the podium, took off her mask, pushed her hair behind her ears, took a deep breath, and then smiled the most radiant smile I have ever seen. That smile lasted a full 30 seconds before she began her remarks. In that expression of embodied joy I saw something that moved me to tears: the boldness of undiminished spirit.
There are many groups who see themselves and their struggles in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: women of color; Black women; people of South Asian descent; children of immigrants; women in positions of power or those who aspire to such heights; stepmoms. Anyone who has ever had to tell a man to stop interrupting them.
I saw myself in the full force of her unapologetic aliveness. I’ve gone through my entire life feeling as if perhaps I’m a little “too much.” Too much energy, ambition, creativity, desire, personality. I’m someone who loves to be seen, who hopes to inspire, wants to lead by example, and dreams of what is possible and keeps reaching toward it.
Has anyone ever told you that you are too intense and maybe you should tone it down a little?
The too-muchness of Kamala wasn’t anger, it was a joy so huge and a smile so bright her face could barely contain it. I want to watch someone that can show up in such a big way, and be inspired by her.
I’m also intrigued by her beauty in a way that is so different from the air brushed celebrities we are used to admiring. Kamala is gorgeous, polished, seasoned and strong. I looked through photos of her going back to 2004, wondering if her beauty had evolved to the maturity it is now. Interestingly, her look has remained largely unchanged, her hair smooth and shoulder-length, her clothing choices classic. She is aware of her attractiveness and now how to best accentuate it, but I doubt she considers her wardrobe a “creative process” or an “artful form of self-expression” the way I do. She has bigger fish to fry.
For the next 4 years and beyond she will no doubt look impeccable and appropriate. She will have excellent personal shoppers that know her taste and a top notch hair and makeup team. Her jewelry will continue to be feminine and interesting. Whatever she wears, be it Timberland boots or Chuck Taylor sneakers, will start a trend. I’ll enjoy watching her as she succeeds as a great Vice President. Most importantly, I’ll follow the advice she gave on the historic night where she took to the stage as Vice President-elect:
Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.
I’m in. No holding back.