Tracee Ellis Ross gave an epic speech about being single and child-free at 45.
Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

If you have marriage or child advice for actor Tracee Ellis Ross, keep it to yourself.

Speaking at Glamour's 2017 Women of the Year Summit on Nov. 13 in New York City, Ross (who is on "Black-ish") talked about taking ownership of her life and having the courage to live with her own wants and needs in mind.


In her incredible peech, the 45-year-old actor — who does not have any children and is not married — focused on overcoming the intense pressures facing women to follow the conventional path through adulthood that includes settling down with a partner and starting a family together.

"It’s really interesting to be a woman and to get to 45 and not be married and to not have kids," Ross began.

She continued (emphasis added):

"You start hearing crazy shit like: 'Oh, you just haven’t found the right guy yet,' 'What are you going to do,' 'Oh, you poor thing,' 'Why is someone like you still single,' 'Have you ever thought of having kids,' 'Why don’t you just have a kid on your own?' It’s never ending and not helpful."

Photo by Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images.

Ross she said dreamed of having a wedding when she was a little girl, but she "also dreamed of winning an Oscar and being on the cover of magazines and making a difference in the world, helping women find our voices."

It was from those dreams that she's been able to shine brightly.

"I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be," she stated.

"And then someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how 'it’s never too late for your life to have meaning,' and my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that I have 'failed' on the marriage and carriage counts. Me! This bold, liberated, independent woman."

Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

One day, when she was journaling, four words popped into her head and onto the paper — and they made all the difference in the world.

"I’m sitting there freewriting, maybe conversing with my inner child, and I write down: MY LIFE IS MINE."

"Those words stopped me in my tracks and honestly brought so many tears to my eyes. Seems so obvious, but obviously it wasn’t. Because I have not been living my life as if it was my own. I mean, to a certain extent, yes, but on a deep level, no. So, if my life is actually mine — then I have to really live it for myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so."

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.

Ross' words have garnered plenty of praise online and have especially struck a chord with women who've felt the same pressures to conform to societal norms as they grow older. Why should Ross — a Golden Globe-winning actor and successful entrepreneur — think for a second that she's less than because she doesn't have children and isn't married?

"Here’s some good news: You too can go from being you to being the brave you," Ross said, closing out her speech. "And you should definitely try it if you haven’t already!"

"Because brave you is so beautiful! Not beautiful like your hair all did or your brows all clean. When I think of what is beautiful, I think of a tree; I think of seeing a bird soar. I think of an embodied woman; I think of my mom in her ‘this is me’ glory stance, arms up, heart open, hair big, sexual, powerful, and full of agency.
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This beautiful, powerful part of you is just waiting for your invitation."

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.