I read this post by Glennon Doyle Melton earlier this week and it struck something in me. Then I watched as this brave young girl in Canada read her powerful and troubling poem about the experience of being a teenage girl today. Then I remembered my own story of being just a girl.
Growing up in a culture that taught me boys will be boys so they should be forgiven for the terrible things they said (or worse did).
A culture that taught me, as a girl, I was responsible for the behavior of boys so I had to watch what I wore and be careful what I said. My body was not my own but rather a potential “stumbling block” for the teenage boys (or worse the grown men who knew better but would choose not to do better).
I grew up in a church culture that told me that because I was a girl I had no voice and therefore, no choice about who I could be or how I could show up in the world. My future was dependent on what the men knew was best for me.
THANK GOD for my mother who, though she raised my sister and me as a single parent, never allowed me to make my gender or my race an excuse for not always doing my best. She never put any limitations on me and I am grateful beyond words for her example.
Giving Away My Power
Still the messages around me were very powerful and in my tween and teenage years I learned that I could not be trusted. I developed the very damaging belief that those outside of me knew more than I did and I quietly started giving away my power.
I ignored my intuition when it said something wasn’t right because, as a girl, speaking up was frowned upon and besides everyone else seemed okay with what was happening.
I was a natural rule follower so I learned to play by the rules that allowed me to fit in even when they felt like they were suffocating me.
My body was also not to be trusted so instead of honoring it for the sacred vessel that it is I used it as an easy way to hide because nobody notices the fat girl.
I became a victim of a culture that sought to silence me and reduce me to being “just a girl”.
It has taken a lot of work but I eventually found my voice and reclaimed my power.
I do the work I do because I KNOW the power of the lies that get rooted into the hearts and souls of women; the lies that rob us of our confidence, our belief in ourselves, and the knowledge that we truly are enough.
You Are More Than
Today if you are struggling under the weight of society’s expectations or the noise of other people’s voices, I want to encourage you that you are more than what they want to reduce you to.
You are more than the number on a scale or the one on your dress tag.
More than the size of your bank account.
You are more than the shape of hips or the size of your lips.
More than the color or length or style of your hair.
You are more than the degree you do or do not have and more than the title you do or do not carry.
You are so much more than can be reduced to a label. Today I invite you to remember who you TRULY are. Remember the greatness that is in you.
More At Stake
I want this for you because I want better for the girls growing up today and it starts with us, the women who are going before.
We must model for them what it looks like to rise above the narratives that demand we play by rules that serve only to diminish us. We must actively resist the lies we’ve believed for too long.
It’s time to change the story because it’s not just about you or me anymore; it’s about our daughters, nieces, granddaughters, goddaughters, and sisters.
This is for all the girls we love, lead and influence in any way.
It is for their sake that we MUST rise into our greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you are ready to get out from underneath the weight of other people’s expectations so you can live a life that models courage and authenticity for the girls you influence let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary call with me to discuss how my programs can transform your beliefs today.