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My 13-Year Old Self

July 9, 2010

Today I received an e-mail from the DOVE company. They are promoting a campaign for young girls to help build positive self-esteem. One of the statistics they shared was that;

70% of girls avoid certain activities – like raising their hand in class – when they feel bad about how they look.

This gave me pause. I thought back to my 13 year old self. And it wasn’t a great memory. At 13 my parents had been or were going through the final stages of their divorce. Life as I had known it had forever changed. I wore braces, glasses and was a skinny, gawky, stumbling kid. To make up for all those things I became goofy. I made fun of myself so that others would laugh, I thought they were laughing with me, not at me and that made me feel okay. School was a place that made me feel uncomfortable. The class work was boring, the rooms stuffy and the only thing I had to look forward to was my friends. They had become my world. Home was heartache. I know my Mother wouldn’t like to hear that, but it was. Everything was different, including me. I didn’t feel like I was an athletic type, I enjoyed art to a certain extent, the art teacher had a paddle with holes in it and that kind of freaked me out. I enjoyed music. But something happened, I don’t know if it was what was going on at home or if it was the teenage hormones and angst. I never felt good looking enough, smart enough or talented in any way.

Oh, if I could go back in time and talk to myself at 13! I would want that girl to know that she is unique, that she can do anything she wants, that she is strong and powerful that the events around her don’t define her because she is a person, not someone else’s event, or definition of what should be.

And so, I say it now to that 13 year old — CELEBRATE YOU — there is only one of you in the whole entire universe, no other like you, ever and that is a special gift that only you can share. Share your brightness, your brilliance, your uniqueness. And the world will be better for knowing you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Bensen permalink
    July 9, 2010 3:08 pm

    I think that is just one part of growing up, or growing into ourselves. Without that struggle within ourselves we would lose the valuable experience of learning how to fit in and learning how to figure out. Its like having to go without something before you can really appreciate its value. Gawky and awkward, the definition of a teen.

  2. lorikk11 permalink
    July 10, 2010 5:48 pm

    So true Kate, those struggles build us – probably more than the easy parts. I’m glad that I was able to find my way!

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