In celebration of the first ever “Dove Self Esteem Weekend”
which was Oct. 22-24, I’d like to ask you to visit the site to find ideas for self esteem activities you can participate in. Just one hour of your time can make a difference. One of my biggest goals with my writing is to help girls gain confidence and appreciate themselves for their inner beauty, rather than making poor choices just to feel loved and accepted.
I was inspired by Kelle Hampton to answer this question, and by joining the movement, we are being asked…what do you know now that you wish you would have known at 13?
Look at this awkward little girl. Can you imagine what was going through her mind in that pitiful picture?
If I think real hard, I bet I can remember.
I bet she was thinking something like, how can my hair possibly be this frizzy when it isn’t even raining outside? Can anyone see my underwear through these ill-fitting white pants? Is my sweat gonna show through in this shirt? Do I have a girl mustache? I need braces on these buck teeth. I wish my mom would let me shave my legs. Are my arms too hairy? Why do I always look so tired? I wish my hair were straighter. I wish I had a bigger chest, like the other girls. Will I ever be able to actually hit the ball? Will I ever play anything besides right-field? Will a boy ever like me? Will I find my place in this world?
If I could, I would go back and tell her so many things.
I’d start with telling her the basics—yes, your hair is always gonna be slightly frizzy, and you shouldn’t waste your life slaving away at making it straight because your eventual husband will think it’s prettier in its natural, wavy state anyway.
I would tell her that it’s okay to smile at strangers or kids in the hallway she barely knows. I would tell her that one day an amazing man will say, “Who wouldn’t want a pretty, young girl to smile at them?” and she will wish she had thought of it that way years before.
I would tell her she deserves to smile. She deserves to be happy and her smile has the power to make someone’s day.
I would tell her not to shrink in her beauty. (Thank you, Marianne Williamson)
I would tell her that yes, she will get braces, and that in years to come many people will compliment her teeth and tell her they are actually quite a great set of chompers.
I would tell her that her arm hair could definitely be worse, and there is no hurry to want to shave…it gets old after a while.
I would tell her that her body will fill out just fine and once she has a baby she will get (part of) the body she has always wanted.
I would tell her that, yes, she will hit the softball on a few rare occasions, and even steal home once or twice. She will keep practicing and one day be the respected pitcher on not only her parks and rec. team, but her high school team, and then she will exceed her wildest dreams and actually play softball in college. She will surprise herself as she pitches through intense heat, and pressure. With each grunt, she will strike people out, and she will silently smirk as she turns her back.
She will gain confidence.
I would tell her she will give birth to a beautiful baby girl and she will love being pregnant, and surprise herself once again as she goes through an intense labor.
She will believe she is unstoppable.
I would tell her that her worth should not and does not come from her physical beauty or from a boy’s attention.
She will write and write and write and one day it will all come together and start to make sense.
I would tell her to be patient.
She will actually get paid to do what she loves.
In due time, she will meet the man she spent years describing in her journal: a man who will listen to her crazy ideas, love her for who she is, let her be herself, and make all of her dreams come true.
I would tell her, that yes, she will grow into her huge eyes and big lips and develop her own mix of style. She will start to finally feel comfortable with herself as she approaches thirty.
And yes, oh yes, she will find her place in this world
But most of all, I wish I could tell her, you’re going to be okay.
You’re going to make it.
You’re going to be just fine.
Possible Journal Topics:
1. What do you know now that you wish you would have known at 13?
2. How is your life different (or the same) as you imagined it would be at 13?
3. What advice would you give your 13 year old self?
4. How can you help a 13 year old girl or boy feel better about themself?