And now, a long one from yours truly. Amazing events and updates below this block of text. Don’t miss ’em.
Looking through the NYTimes #ThisIs18 and this examination of teen shopping habits, you see what it is like to come of age right now. They share fears about social media, global warming, consumerism, and their parents. Voting. They’re still taking fashion cues from Clueless. Different and more intense, but not entirely foreign to what 18 looked like for us.
#ThisIs18 for me (well, a couple months shy of it), headed to prom, at the beginning a period of my life dictated by an eating disorder, internalized and full of shame. They were behaviors created to feel like I had control when I was terrified. They were behaviors created because I felt like there was only one way to be beautiful.
I’d tell her that the act of not criticizing your body is a daily, challenging practice, but one that needs to start. I’d tell her to value her health and physical safe-keeping more, because some marks are indelible. I’d tell her that the things she’s learning in her gender studies classes are real, so pay attention and ask more questions. Learn more history. It was the year 2000 — the first time I felt the heartbreak and helplessness of an election. I’d tell her to not lose the spirit of that frustration.
Did 18-year-old you know what it meant to take care of herself? To find perspective? To figure out the things that make you feel good and find ways to keep doing them? To value learning? (I hope you were better at that last one than I was.) How about [insert age now] you? How’s she doing?
The ways we were socialized and trained to behave before we turned 18 have such an impact on who we are today. In a world telling us to speak confidently, take up space, and fight for equity in everything we do, we forget to forgive ourselves for the ways we learned the other behaviors in the first place.
You fought for what you believed in and wanted so badly it hurt because that is what teenagers do. Here we are today, and once again complacency is not an option.
Looking back at the breaking point between teen years and “adulthood”, the girl you were and the things you did are the only way that you became who you are today.
She’s incredible. She is you.
Take care of yourself, your body, and your heart. Come to a class with us this week. Say hi at the coffee bar. Let a walk down memory lane be filled with compassion and remind you of the fires deep down that inspired your trajectory to here.
Podcast recommendation: The Dream, which is about Multi-Level Marketing companies and the (often broken) promise of economic freedom they sell to America — primarily women. If you’ve listened, I am SO ready to talk to someone about it.
Hope to see you at The Assembly soon!