The things i wish i could tell the teenage girls of today
i wish i had the right words for you. but, it seems like none of the words i know fit on this page. because this isn’t our book. and, we’re barely even mentioned in it. and, i know how disheartening it is. how terrifying. i only know a fraction of that fear, having always being surrounded by my white privilege. but, i’m still a woman. and, my dreams are still less equal to a man’s. and, i’m still heartbroken. it hasn’t even been a full month. this is still real. the reality we’re facing. a new world is being shaped around us. a world we didn’t ask for. and, i’ve kept quiet. and, i’ve cried. and, i’ve felt the weight of all the hurt. and, i’ve wondered what to do. and, that’s the thing about the silence. it gives you the answers to all the questions you never dared to ask. if you stop. and, listen. the silence reminded me that this is, and has always has been, about people. about you. and, the woman you want to become. recently i’ve been reminded of the things you can control. no matter who is writing the book or how little your space is. this is still your space. claim it. and, make it safe. for everyone. challenge your beliefs. ask yourself if they’re old and dated. call out your family members who have never questioned what they’ve been taught by society. ask the difficult questions and seek the answers. talk to real people. especially those who have had a different life than you. learn from them. check yourself and your privilege. if you have none help your friends open their eyes to see theirs. speak up. talk about the things no one dares to utter out loud. if your voice is never heard, find those who are ready to shout the words for you. tell them what your reality sounds like. realize that the amount of cents you earn to every dollar a man makes is still dependent on the color of your skin. get book and film recommendations from people of other ethnicities. from other countries. if you get the chance, travel. see how others live and see that your truth isn’t the only one out there. remember you are always in control of how kind you are. of how you make others feel. because that’s all they will remember. make sure it will be worth it. listen to that voice inside of you when she tells you who your friends are. keep them close. write them a letter for no reason. tell them you’ve got them no matter what. because you will need them too. celebrate their success as if it were your own. because it will never hinder yours. know what you want and where you are going but don’t get caught up in the how. treat yourself like the women you aspire to be, with the utmost respect and adoration. you deserve nothing less. look out for the other teenage girls. no matter what they believe in, who they love, or where they are from. protect them as fiercely as you can. the world often looks like a grim place. prove it’s not. that tomorrow will always be worth fighting for. put your phone down. stop. close your eyes. and, breathe. hear the silence. make this about people. whether they are close or far. this is not your chapter. this isn’t even your page. but, you know where you stand. and, now you know exactly what this world looks like. use it as your fuel. when you have to scream until your voice breaks, claw until your fingers bleed, and run until your lungs give out after your dreams. they are still yours. never take them for granted. because they will try to rip them away from you. find your people and keep them in your corner. keep them closer when you believe for that one second you can’t do this. and, when you ask yourself why you should keep going think about your little sister. or your niece. or the girl down the street. or the girl fleeing her home in search of a new one. or even your younger self. give it your all. create doors where there were only walls. do it so when she’s asked who she wants to be when she grows up you can honestly tell her she can be whoever she wants.
Originally published at medium.com