This past Saturday I was invited and challenged to write a poem for a conference here in Reno called Girl Empire. (Check it out here: http://girlempirecon.com/program/)
It was for girls ages 9-19 to gather together with some of the leading women in our city to learn what it means to be bold, play big and dream big for their future.
I was absolutely honored to be a part of this day and even more humbled that I was asked to share my writing.
After some deep soul searching and picking the brains of the most brilliant women in my life, it became clear to me that there is SO MUCH we want our young girls to know! I kept asking myself and my friends, “What would you want the 13 year old YOU, to know?” So many sharp, smart, wise and IMPORTANT things came into laser focus. Here are just a few of the responses from these ladies that have now become a little treasure trove of girl power that I will save forever.
“I would tell 13 year old me that she is loved and that no matter what she is going through, no matter how far away an end to the situation seems, tomorrow is always a new day. And I would encourage her to fully apply herself at school and to set goals and believe in them.”
“Always lead by example; if you see something about the world that you don’t like, then don’t allow yourslef to do it.”
“Pay attention in Math class! You will need it if you want to go anywhere, trust me! If you can pay attention in Math, the rest will come easy. If you don’t understand it, get a tutor, stay in at lunch with a teacher, do whatever it takes.”
“No matter how bad it seems at times it’s just a nano second in a long string of life you have yet to live. So just keep living because the bad doesn’t last forever.”
“There is money to be made off of teaching you to devalue and distrust yourself. You will have to actively push back against this. The good news is learning to sift through all this will make you wise and graceful.”
“Embrace not being good at stuff and failing. Like, not getting something right the first/millionth time is actually how its suppose to be, so its not that big of deal to not be great at something. Keep going!”
“Never be Jealous of anything or anyone. What you are and what you have is always enough. The right person will come along for you because they will be interested in who and what YOU are. Never compare yourself to anyone else, not who they are or what they have.”
“I wish my 13-30 year old self knew that she was not obligated to please ANYONE. That it isn’t selfish to follow her own dreams/desires. Being liked and approved of isn’t life’s ultimate goal.”
“Guard your body and protect your heart. That’s the advice I would have given to my 13 yr old self. I was raped when I was 13. It changed my life forever.”
“Not everyone needs to go to college, but college is never a waste. You need to understand math if you ever want to be independent. If you want to be an artist or run any kind of business – math. Want to get a good deal – math. Want a marriage of equals – math. Politics, poetry, technology, math will help you with it all. I wish I’d paid more attention to math.”
“I would tell my young self to love yourself and don’t let people influence you to do harm to yourself and others. Accept who you are. Look inward for acceptance, believe in yourself.”
“Laugh at yourself. Not only because we are all ridiculous but because it disarms bullies and makes your enemies look like asshats.”
“You are not what other people say you are. If people treat you poorly that is a commentary on them, not you. You are valuable and unique.”
I wish I could post ALL of the wisdoms I have heard in the past week. I wish I could encapsulate it in some sort of multi vitamin and make my daughter take it every single morning with breakfast. I wish I could carry all of these and the experiences gained under my belt, back in time and show my 13 year old self that we end up kind of awesome.
In the end, I wrote from the heart. Here is the poem I shared.