Fifteen years old is an age that will forever be engraved in my psyche. It was awkward, uncomfortable and scary. And absolutely NO ONE understood. I questioned my changing body, I questioned my thoughts, my beliefs, my very existence. The authentic me had been chipped away at from a very young age. Sit like a lady, you’re too loud, be quiet, stand up straight, you can’t do this, and you shouldn’t do that… Comments that were at times well intentioned to slowly mold me into a proper human being but which often felt like a sledgehammer attempting to take out huge chunks of who I actually was. It left me feeling small and unworthy. By the age of fifteen my body no longer belonged to me. It had been stolen from me. The words I love you would roll off their tongues like it meant they deserved and had earned my body in return to do whatever they please. The sickness I felt in the pit of my stomach every day, the shame I carried with me, all made me want to peel my skin off and be anything but myself.
Fifteen, which was the age Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was when she recalls Judge Brett Kavenaugh forced himself on her at a party. I remember those parties. So many of us remember those parties.
What would be different if at fifteen we valued ourselves? What if we had thought our voice mattered? What if being me was good enough? What if we looked in the mirror and liked ourselves? How would that have changed the course of our lives? Would Dr. Blasey Ford be sitting in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee right now if she had been outspoken about her attack when it happened? Why have we created a world where it isn’t safe for a young girl to do that? If she had valued herself enough to know what happened was wrong and in no way was it her fault or something she should be ashamed of, would she have spoken then? I imagine many things would have been different in her life. I know they would have been different in mine.
I strongly believe we can only experience change if we change our thinking. Girl Noticed’s mission is to ensure every girl, no matter what, is noticed for her unique strengths, talents and abilities. The importance of this lies in every girl seeing herself as enough. We must recognize our value as women, and it is my sincere hope we raise our young girls to do the same.