In this week’s post on 13 ways to uplift young women I want to talk about the importance of Encouraging them to Be Unique and why exposing them to new experiences can do wonders to a young girl’s self-esteem.
Encouraging them to be unique
I am not normal. I know that. My mom knows this, my friends know this, and once you meet me you will know this. I’m just different and weird. When I was younger I don’t think this was a plus to me, because I wanted to be popular. Being popular to a teenage girl can be viewed as the holy grail of high school excellence. To know that everyone likes you and want to hang out with you is pretty sweet! Not to mention the perks you get if you are in the 'in-crowd'. You don’t miss out on the good times that happen outside of school or the good stories. If you can just make yourself a likable person, you have it made. But we all know that life is not like that. I didn’t get to go to all the cool functions. I wasn’t mega popular but I was known. Known as a weirdo with big lips and a big butt. Oh lawd the big butt! People had to talk about it, make you feel insecure about it.
Every now and then you may get someone who makes you feel real good about it! There was a young lady named Diondra and I thought at times she could be a bit mean but overall she was pretty cool. One day she stopped me and she said “If you can just give me just a little bit of that butt! That’s all I need girl!” Now I know what you are thinking, “that seemed pretty homos*xual.” And if we were both gay, I would totally agree. However, it was more from a place of “Dang girl! You got so much behind and I have none. I wish I had a little bit of what you have so I could have a nice round bubble.” Though it was a joke, when you constantly hear people say your 'butt is big' in disgust, the one time you hear words of empowerment it stays with you. This was about 17 years ago, so yes, as silly as the comment was, it meant something to me.
Now, look at the trends! What do people want? Big butts and big lips! I went through high school naturally possessing these traits and chicks are dying (literally) to look like me! (Pretty cool I must say!) I don’t think I completely accepted who I was until my late 20’s. Now today I own everything that I am, and I love it! I like being different because it makes me memorable. I like being unique because I stand out. Had I known then what I knew now, I would have strutted around extra proud! Young girls have a hard time being unique because it’s not ‘cool’. If there isn’t a strong role model to reinforce that they shouldn’t run with the crowd, then they can fall into a heap of trouble. We all know that just because you are a homecoming/prom queen in high school, doesn’t mean schit once you get into the real world. Our job is to show these young girls that being different is truly special and though others may not quite get you, in the grand scheme of things, they truly do not matter.
Expose to new Experiences
When I was in elementary school I went to the local school called Broadleigh Elementary. It was cool. I don’t remember too much, a lot more black students and a normal inner city school. But I don’t remember doing things that made me think outside the box. My 4th-grade year my mom sent me to Berwick. It was an alternative school and in a better neighborhood than the old school. (Slightly better for the record). I was happy cause my mom was happy but I was accustomed to my previous school so why change? Well, this school was sooo different! We had a mascot! It was a chinchilla! And it was alive!!! We had talent shows, we had school trips, we went out of town! We went camping! We did so much! I mean it was a pretty awesome school. As I grew older I expected my schools to be of this caliber and If they weren’t I went out my way to find things that caught my attention. It was something about knowing that there is more out there than what I was currently seeing that made me want to try new things. I also started noticing that the other kids didn’t really try anything new because their parents never tried anything new. Looking back, those kids are still in a broken inner city cycle while the kids who went to the school with better opportunities excelled in being very successful. When kids see that there is more to life than what they are currently seeing, they will strive to get more. Sometimes they don’t realize that you don’t have to be a baby’s momma or you don’t have to be a meth head. This crappy situation you may be
Looking back, those kids are still in a broken inner city cycle while the kids who went to the school with better opportunities excelled in being very successful. When kids see that there is more to life than what they are currently seeing, they will strive to get more. Sometimes they don’t realize that you don’t have to be a baby’s momma or you don’t have to be a meth head. This crappy situation you may be in is temporary. I love taking people to try new things or exposing them to new ideas. It’s like a small glimpse of satisfaction because you showed them something that in their mind never existed! Then when they begin to learn that there are new things to explore, their creative thoughts start to flow and next thing you know, you have yourself a successful young woman.
Thank you so much for hanging with me with this series! Next week we are going to cover why you should be there for their triumphs and the importance of having a good male figure present!
For Further Reading:
13 Ways to uplift young women: Become a Mentor and listen to them