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In one tweet, Simone Biles reminds the world to stop defining women by their trauma.

The greatest gymnast of all time refuses to be associated with terrible men.

U.S. Olympic hero Simone Biles just reminded us that she's in charge of her own destiny.

Just to avoid any confusion, Biles wants the world to know that her aspirations are not defined or determined by any experiences of her past.

She, and she alone, makes the calls for what path her career will take.  


Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

On April 27, The Daily Mail published an article with a rather questionable headline framing Biles' plans for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 within the context of Larry Nassar's very public sexual abuse case.

In early 2018, Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team physician, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women — including Biles — bravely stood up and exposed his years of criminal abuse.

Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images.

International Gymnast shared the story in a tweet that's since been deleted.

But Biles was not having it.

Biles made it clear that her sights were on the Tokyo Olympics long before Nassar's conviction.

Her ambitious nature isn't surprising, either.

The native Houstonian many refer to as "the best gymnast in the world" is the reigning world all-around champion. She earned four Olympic gold medals in the 2016 Olympics and has won the most medals in U.S. gymnastics history.

And those are just a few things on the 21-year-old's resume.    

Biles is an honorary cheerleader with the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

While Biles' tweets are a direct appeal to be recognized for her accomplishments and ambitions and not her abuser's behavior, she brings up an even larger point.

Women who experience sexual abuse or assault — whether Olympic champions, chefs, or domestic workers — deserve to be defined by their lives and their lives alone.  

As more women and young people continue to speak out against former and current abusers, people finally seem to be listening. Powerful men are finally being brought to justice, manipulative bosses are losing their jobs, and people are slowly but surely starting to listen to women's stories and experiences.      

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.

But as we listen, we must also remember that women exist outside of their trauma, too.

Women who have survived sexual abuse should be able to live their lives without the cloud of their abuser hanging over them — whether that life is on the balance beam or the basketball court, in the kitchen or the newsroom.

When we treat women as humans with dreams, goals, and aspirations that extend beyond their experiences with (and mistreatment by) men, we continue to push toward a society that sees women as fully whole and fleshed out beings.  

Simone Biles is once again teaching us how to be the champion of our own lives: by defining it on our terms.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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