Today is International Day of the Girl.
My heart aches for all of the girls, all over the world, who cry silently, who cannot speak the things that they want to say, who believe that they will never have the opportunity to be who they long to be. I pray that each will be convinced–at an age much younger than mine–that her unique beauty is needed in this world. That she has the opportunity to amplify her voice, no matter how desperately others might try to diminish it.
I have been inspired to write about what I would tell 15-year old me recently, by today’s CNN slideshow featuring some of the world’s leading women answering the same question and by a book, purchased over a year ago: What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self.
For me, answering this question will take the form of a multi-post essay. (Apparently I have much to say to myself.)
But for today this is what I would say to my younger self:
“Rachel, there are many ways for things to work out. The world will not end if you make the wrong decision, if you turn the opposite way on the path, if you try something and fail. If necessary, you can make a U-turn down the road. You can start over. You can find a way to do it differently. You can forgive yourself. Every single day, you can choose to change your mind. This is not a life or death decision.”
In essence–quoting C. Joybell C.–I’d say: “Rachel, you can always take a cab.” I didn’t know about cabs at 15. I thought that being in the wrong place at the wrong time meant that I would miss my one and only ride. Nearly every day, every hour, I was terrified of making a fatal mistake. I’m so grateful, at 44, to see options abounding and surrounding me!
What would you say to yourself at 15?