A Letter To Myself on International Day of The Girl
Today it’s International Day of the Girl;
a UNICEF campaign that, this year marks 25 years of progress for girls.
A conference which took place in Beijing in 1994 culminated in devising a policy agenda for the empowerment of women and thankfully, it hasn’t stopped there.
The movements have progressed and expanded. They’re being driven by and for adolescent girls all over the world and, rightly so, they are tackling all issues that matter in the world today. Topics like child marriage, education inequality and climate change. Think Greta Thunburg and her UN speech at the Climate Change Conference just a couple of weeks ago.
More and more we’re seeing that girls are proving that they are unscripted and unstoppable; which is the theme for this years’ UN campaign. On the website they note that, “As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations” which really is very exciting, but they recognise that it’s also an opportunity to look back at how far we’ve come.
There are different ways that the UN encourage you to get involved with the campaign. One option is to ask women what piece of advice they would give to their younger selves or girls today. The pre-requisite was for them to be between between 35 and 45, but I’m below the threshold and to be honest, I think it’s a good thing to ask all women this question.
I thought it was quite apt that four and a half years ago, I actually wrote a letter to my 13 year old self on the eve of my 30th birthday over on my blog. I thought I’d share it here too…
I can’t say at 13 you ever really imagined what your life would be like at 30. Did you think you’d be single, on a train back up North with a sneaky G&T in your hand writing a blog? If so, you’re more insightful than I give you credit for. I suspect you’re still not really sure about what you want to do for a career yet, after being told you should be a vet, in the RAF or a primary school teacher. Just give it another year, you’ll discover Absolutely Fabulous and decide you want to work in PR dahhhhling. Keep that idea in your head, it will work out in the end.
Your teenage years will be spent being a bit of a geek. Try and embrace it a little bit more. You’ll also feel a fair bit of hatred for yourself over the next few years. For lots of different reasons. Your hair, your weight, your skin and for yourself. Please don’t. Try to learn to love yourself more than you do right now. I’m saying this now but I know you’ll go through a whole host of shit before you start to truly accept who you are. Just stick with it.
Maybe don’t marry the first real boyfriend you get when you’re 17. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll have loads of fun with him, fall in love and make some great memories. But there will come a time when you feel like you’ve had your wings clipped, when in reality all you want to do is fly.
Learn to trust your judgement. It will take another 14 years for you to really listen to yourself. Truly listening to yourself, and subsequently making that decision will be one of your defining moments. But maybe try a little sooner and who knows what could happen.
Believe in yourself. Whilst you’ll never really grasp geography, will always be 10 minutes late for everything, be hangry, pout too much and get frustrated with things that are out of your control, you actually turn out ok.
Keep that determination, big heart and bloody big ambition. Hopefully you won’t go far wrong,
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
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