If you could write a note of advice to your teen girl self, knowing all that you know now, what would you say to her? I love this exercise as it encourages reflection, empathy with the plight of our young women and affirms the wisdom and strength we have gained.
Below is the feminist Naomi Wolf’s contribution:
And here is mine:
Dear Teenage Danni,
What a conflicted young girl you are! Your head and heart tell you that your strength lies in your intelligence and willingness to fight for what you believe in, yet you spend most weekends drowning these voices in cheap spumante and focusing only on your body’s imperfections. Stop fighting with yourself Dan – you are magnificent as you are. You can’t airbrush all your perceived imperfections and guess what? Even if you could, later on in life it is these very scars that you now hate so much that will make you unique and shiny. It is just going to take time for you to grow into yourself …trust me. It will all be more than just ok. It will be brilliant.
In the mean time, just breathe. And keep reading . The words you are surrounding yourself with are slowly healing you. Words will always soothe you.
Be kind to your sister.
Go and kiss your Grandfather. He will always remain one of the great loves of your life and you will miss him terribly when he is lost to you.
Make up more “secret” clubs with your friends and continue nominating yourself to be Captain. It is all good practice for when you will run your own company one day.
Know that mistakes are not devastating. You’ll make many and will learn from them all.
Ditch the 80’s perm.
Love, light and laughter to you growing girl,
I’d love to read your letters!
I also wanted to share the image below with you as after writing this I went searching for a picture of my teenage self and this photo literally fell out of the album and landed at my feet; and how special that it is a photo of my Grandfather and I! I actually don’t even recall ever seeing it before – and what a gorgeous shot it is. I am 8 years old. You can see the love written all over my little face can’t you?
Let’s never understimate how vital connections to the older generation are, and how influential we can all be in shaping our children.
Love you Grandpa. Miss you always. XXXX