I am absolutely becoming an obsessive aunt, proudly showing strangers pictures of my nieces and nephews. It recently dawned on me that my initial idea of creating I AM THAT GIRL has become so much more. At the time, I selfishly envisioned something I wish I had in college. I always asked the question, “Why don’t we have a badass version of Girl Scouts for college girls?” And after enough moaning, I went and created it.
It wasn't until I saw a beautiful picture of my niece in her purple tutu that it hit me like a pound of bricks across the face; I AM THAT GIRL might have originally been started for me, but the reality is that it's really for her. As I looked harder at that picture, not only did I see a huge smile on her little face, but tightly clenched in her hand was the hand of another little girl. Something happens when we get older, it's like we forget. We forget the inherent kindness, the compassion and love that kids give out like it's water. We haven't been hurt, let down and disappointed, so our hearts and our minds are optimistic. Then the truth sets in and we lose a lot of that innocence, we forget that just because a few bad apples grace us with their presence that not all people are, well, rotten.
The picture of my niece Scarlett reminded me of that beauty. I often talk about how girls have forgotten that we are, in fact, on the same team and we have received some bad programming convincing us that we are supposed to be competitive and threatened by one another. The sad truth is that most of us buy that lie hook, line and sinker as we perpetuate the notion that girls are not to be trusted. Why we decided that we'd rather give one another catty, mean glances as opposed to loving eyes and compliments, I'm not sure.
We believe that the real reason we are so mean to each other is that we've forgotten our own worth. We set the pearl of our confidence down and misplaced her, we set her aside and forgot to pick her back up. We've gotten so focused on what we do," we forgot altogether who we are. All I know is that I've spent a third of my life reminding myself and all the girls in my life that despite our bad programming, we are all enough and that our precious pearl of confidence can be misplaced, but never lost.
More importantly, the epiphany that exploded in my soul like fireworks on the Fourth of July is that the work we are doing with I AM THAT GIRL is so much more important than I even knew because it's not just us suffering. We possess the potential to prevent an entire generation of girls from growing up feeling like they aren't good enough. I was always told that when you have children, it's life-changing because all of a sudden everything you do is this selfless act for this little person you love more than life itself. While I don't have children yet, I feel that with Scarlett and my other niece Sayda. I want to protect them and empower them to feel extraordinary just for breathing. Our work far transcends my lifetime and maybe in that humble recognition, I realized just how important the mission of I AM THAT GIRL is and just how much harder we need to work for all of us.
Image courtesy of Evolveher.com