I remember being a little girl. I was always chubby if I'm being honest. But you know, I don't ever recall being made fun of. Not once. Nobody ever had anything to say about my size, at least not to my face. I think it's really just because although I was always packaged in a plus-sized body, it came along with a plus-sized personality. If my body was an XXL, my personality was AT LEAST a 6X. Still to this day, I pride myself on the high- energy, loud and laughable, happy human being that I am.
I have the pleasure of working very closely with a number of young girls on the brink of womanhood. And by the brink of womanhood, I mean ages 10-16. Back when I was little, 10 years old still came with bangs that were curled under, stirrup pants, and the belief that boys were pretty much the scum of the earth. Nowadays, things are quite a bit different. I don't have to get into the ways that the current times are different, we all know they are.
The girls that I talk with are scared. They feel inferior. They have zero self esteem and think they need to be, do and have what others do in order to be happy. They are worried about changing in the locker rooms at gym class. They fear that the house they may live in or the car they drive in won't meet the standards of their peer's homes and cars. They hate sleepovers. They pull apart their own bodies because they don't look like the ones that are plastered all over Instagram. Or they post pictures of their own bodies on Instagram looking for validation from someone, anyone, because they don't feel like they're enough.
So many people ask me how I have grown to be so confident. The answer? That shirt right there in that picture. It's a damn FIGHT. But I think if I could narrow it down to ONE thing...it would be connection to yourself. From a young age I had a certain level of awareness of who I am and what I stood for. I knew what my morals and values were, I knew what I liked and what I disliked. I knew who I wanted to surround myself with and who I didn't. I never wavered from her, even when I had to fight.
We need to teach our young girls the importance of self-awareness. In a world that has more physical, chemical, and emotional stressors than ever before, our kids are disconnected. They're filled with anxiety and fear about who they are, what they want, and what they stand for. I mean honestly, imagine being young in today's society where the world is literally at your fingertips with full accessibility and visibility to anything you want or don't want for that matter. Now imagine being so young that you don't even know who you are really, but you see what everyone else is (or thinks they are)...you can see where the confusion and fear and nervousness come in.
It's on my heart to lead from the front on this one. I envision our girls understanding connection in a different light. I don't mean connection to a screen and social media. I don't mean "connection" air-quoted because what's really happening is you're sitting in a room with someone you call a friend but both of you are on your phone the whole time and you really don't have even the slightest idea who the heck that other human is.
I mean connection to ourselves and how absolutely critical it is to our happiness and confidence.
Connection to our bodies- understanding what it means to fill it with foods that fuel us and movement that feeds our brains. Understanding body image and confidence and how perfect we were each made. Knowing personal boundaries and space and how to protect ourselves.
Connection to our minds- understanding the importance of knowledge and it's power. The importance of learning and learning and learning some more. Of always questioning things, all sides, and developing an opinion of our own while also respecting those of others.
Connection to our souls- realizing what sets our souls on FIRE. What do we light up about when we speak? What makes us shine like the light of a thousand suns. Recognizing that it's okay to like ponies until we are 25, believe in Santa longer than all of our friends, or admitting that Sponge Bob is our favorite show still at 29 (I may or may not be talking about myself on this one! 😂). Finding a belief in something bigger than ourselves- whether it's God or the universe or whatever speaks to us.
Connection to our family and friends- recognizing what really cultivates healthy and happy friendships. How to connect with our parents even as we get older and want to pull away from them. Finding the beauty in the little things and the people that play the largest roles in our lives and how to show appreciation to them.
Connection to our communities- finding joy in giving back and reaching out and down when others are hurt or struggling...whether it be a homeless man at a food shelter or a less than popular kid at school.
I won't stop until this is the norm. I know part of growing up is living and learning but why not equip our girls with the best chance they've got? These girls deserve to be CONFIDENT. They deserve to know they're GOOD ENOUGH! Even if they're chubby or quirky or nerdy.
It's always gonna be a FIGHT, growing up I mean, because all good things are. That's one thing I know for sure. ♥️