Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. On this day we celebrate the empowerment of women all around the globe. Young and old, all shapes and color and sizes, women come together for the idea of the constant push of women’s rights and equality.
I’m not here to talk about feminism or to get political. But, I do believe that all people, no matter your sex, heritage, skin color, or sexual orientation should be denied any opportunity. Fortunately, I believe we’re well on our way to that.
As a culture we are always growing and evolving and over time the things we wish to change can happen. But what I feel is most important to this issue is how we raise, shape the minds, and educate those younger than us, those looking for guidance, those whose minds are so impressionable.
Building and growing the minds of our children and the next generation of girls is so, so imperative. A young girl should know she can grow up and do whatever she wants, be whatever she wants- and demand nothing less.
We need more bold, courageous, strong, relentless women in this world. The only way to make sure this happens, is to raise them this way.
So this is my open letter to all the young girls, the next generation of STRONG girls.
I want you to know that you are beautiful in your own skin. I’m tired of hearing girls say “I look ugly with no makeup on.” Your face without makeup on, is your face. It’s not ugly, and wearing makeup shouldn’t have to be necessary for you to feel good about yourself. If you CHOOSE to doll yourself up, that’s your choice! Some girls enjoy it, some girls don’t. But it should never be something you need to do in order to feel worthy. There’s this notion that a woman has to make herself super-presentable whenever she leaves the house. Bottom line, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You should feel comfortable in your own skin and self-confident even when you’re not dressed, hair done, and makeup done.
I want you to know that patience will lead you to your passion. Don’t listen to your parents, your friends, your teachers, anyone around you if they try to make you take that job that you don’t actually want. Follow your heart. Find that thing that keeps you up at night, that makes you wake up early. Everyone in this world has something they are passionate about and if you want to live a fulfilling life you had better make those dreams into reality. Forget the naysayers, forget how much time it will take, forget about money, it will all be worth it, I promise.
I want you to know that there is a different path for everyone. You do not have to go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, and retire by a certain age, if at all! Your choices are your own, and nobody else’s. What is right timing for someone else, is not right in comparison to yours. You can be happy for your friend’s accomplishments without being jealous, and with knowing your time to shine will come.
I want you to know that you’re allowed to have emotions. Handle them, and use them. You don’t have to bottle them up. You don’t have to pretend like you’re okay all the time. It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to take time to heal. Life will take you through ups and downs, test you, and make you question everything. Your sensitivity is not weakness, it is strength. You can withstand far more pain than you think. Processs and feel everything that comes to you- and come out stronger because of it.
I want you know that it’s okay to say no. One day in the future you may be taking on lots of roles– a sister, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, a wife, a mother. As women, we like to take others’ problems and make them our own. I want you to know, you don’t have to always say yes. You don’t have to take on the weight of the world. Sometimes it’s so essential to say no, to use your time as your own, to practice self-care in the most simplest of ways. It’s okay to put yourself first.
I want you to know that you don’t have to live by anyone’s else’s standards. There’s this idea of what women are supposed to look like, do, and act, and honestly, it’s all crap. You can have muscles, or you can be skinny. You can have long hair, or a buzz-cut. You can ask someone out on a date, and you call/text them first. You don’t have to order a salad on this first date. You can curse, and you sure as hell don’t have to keep a smile on your face all the time. Just be YOU, and do it unapologetically.
Lastly, I want you to know that you will never be ready. “Ready” is not really a thing. Ready for that new job, that new relationship, that trip of a lifetime, that big move across the country… being “ready” never actually happens. What you need to do, is be brave. Be courageous. Know that everything happens as it should- if you work hard you’ll find that luck and good opportunities will fall into place for you. Be relentless in the pursuit of challenges, tedious tasks, and endeavors that will bring about personal growth. This will make you feel almost “ready” for anything life tries to throw at you.
The power of kind words and encouragement to the younger generation is more important than we will ever know. You never know what kind of thought will resonate with a kid for the rest of their lives. If we instill these notions on young girls, it can only bring them confidence and bravery in the future. I hope anyone reading this will pass it along to someone they think about while reading it.
Happy International Women’s day to all the badass women out there, keep fighting and inspiring, and never settle. ❤