Day 32: Why It Matters

Recently, the trailer for a movie entitled Miss Representation came across my facebook page.  If you’d like to see the trailer click here:  It’s pretty darn powerful.

I, at times, feel so helpless.  For fifteen years I’ve dedicated my entire life to eliminating the objectification of girls and women…realizing that it is virtually impossible for this to occur overnight, but still, at times, feeling so helpless and frustrated at what seems like such little progress.  This video both fuels that frustration and ignites a greater desire to continue the work.

I am struck this morning, by why it matters. Why I matter. Why you matter. Why Girls on the Run matters.

It matters to the 12 year old girl, from Peoria, Illinois, who for three years has struggled with anorexia nervosa…nothing left to house her spirit other than bones and skin. Her eyes are wide, intense and uncertain. She is starving herself to become beautiful, unaware that she already is, bones, skin and spirit; wanting to know that she is loved. It matters to the 12 year old girl in Ethiopia, torn from the inside out while giving birth to her baby, urine and feces from her body stain her clothing, she and her baby dying from malnutrition. They are starving, cast out from their village, wandering, wishing and seeking the love of just one other.

It matters to the fourteen year old girl in Atlanta, Georgia who, after a few beers with her friends reluctantly has sex with her boyfriend… unintended, but so it goes. At least in her mind, he will love her, maybe. It’s worth a shot, so why not? It matters to the fourteen year old girl in Somalia, carrying water with her sisters back to their village, overtaken by a group of boys. She is brutally raped. No one wins. The boys do and know only what they have been shown by the men in their lives. They know not what they are missing, the tender touch of a woman, the love between two…The real and raw of it; the transformation possible.

It matters to the nineteen year old girl in Burlington, VT who for graduation wants nothing more than breast implants, to be loved, accepted and alive, be one of the pretty girls…popular, attractive and powerful…to be desired by many…seeking love in that mix somehow. It matters to the woman-child in Mali Africa, tied down and restrained while her clitoris is removed, cut, mutilated. Her body disfigured, but her spirit intact; eyes wide, scanning the space for one loving person.

It matters to each of them, each time I choose to speak negatively of myself, my age, my body or my character. It matters to each of them, each time I choose to judge, criticize or condemn without seeking first to understand, be compassionate, gentle and kind.  It matters to each of them what I watch, purchase, give into and see as beautiful.

I watch my daughter, this morning…all thirteen years of her… clumsily walk down the steps of our small but warm house, wipe the sleep from her eyes, still snuggle in my arms…and I feel the space between me and her, here and there, you and I, us and them and know, without question, that what I do, what I say and who I choose to be matters…to her…to them.

I yearn to love that much.

The world I live in starts with me.

3 thoughts on “Day 32: Why It Matters

  1. Thank you once again for your thoughtful musings- we must understand how important we were, are and can be to other people-what we do matters, and has great potential to have a powerful impact on the lives of young women everywhere. You help a young girl and you help all who are in her realm of existend- her mother, her friends, her future daughters…you leave an indelible imprint upon her existence, and, in so doing, on your own.

  2. Molly,
    Once again, I found myself compelled to read your blog and I of course came upon this one….because I was meant to. In each example, you mentioned how each girl who struggled was in some way still hoping for – or even grasping for – LOVE. Lately I find myself wishing so hopelessly for love and even saying out loud that all I want is to be loved. I consider myself to be a very successful and strong woman. My career is one that is considered to be “a man’s world” and I do my best to prove to the men that I work with that I can be just as good at it and maybe even better. I have everything I need and more. Professionally, I reached for the stars and I got them. Yet I struggle to understand why I find it so hard to reach the personal goals that I have set for myself. Why am I so incapable of being loved or even giving love? Some days I’m sad about it and other days I’m alright with it. The two days a week when I realize that I am loved and that I have so much love to give is when I coach GOTR. When I see my girls and I get big hugs, every bit of my fear and doubt is wiped away. When they tell me how pretty I am in their eyes, when they ask to hear stories about my week on the helicopter and they say that they want to be just like me someday, and when I see the beautiful results of what we do as their coaches – I realize that I am surrounded by love and that I matter to them.

    That video was very powerful and I had to share it for all to watch. Just as that video portrayed, I find myself very frustrated with the way women are viewed and even more frustrated with the women that perpetuate our negative image. I’ve resolved to be a mentor and make sure that I will influence 15 little girls in becoming women who will strengthen our world and always demand respect. Just as we teach them in one of our lessons – I can positively influence one person and that person can then influence others. I love my little place in this world – I think it’s bigger than I even realize.

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