Let’s Teach Girls to be Somebodies

Lessons in life tend to have the nasty little habit of tiptoeing up to you and gut punching you out of nowhere. I liken it to a bit of a realization brick aimed straight for your noggin, (…to put it gently, of course). I’ve recently had the pleasure of testing out that hypothesis of mine, and spoiler alert: I was totally right.

I wasn’t looking for a lesson on society that fateful Monday. But that Monday I got one anyway, and it came in the form of a conversation with my  seven-year-old niece a few months ago that really got me thinking…And not in the way I was happy about.

That Monday, I came down from school, my niece and my dad waiting for me by the car. She was bouncing up and down, in her little first grader way, smiling ear to ear. She proudly displayed to me her newest artistic endeavor of a rocket ship hurdling through space. “You can have it, Hannie! Do you want it?”

“I would LOVE it! It’s beautiful…” I smiled at her and got into the car, being sure to dote on it even more, in my typical proud-aunt nature.

While driving down the road, we fell into our normal discussions. You know, how our days were, what new things she was learning at school… when, all of the sudden she proceeds to tell me about the newest developments in first grader gossip- a little boy in her class liked her! I giggled and made sure to remind her she was far too young to have a boyfriend. Wait until you’re older!

“Like when I’m sixteen?” She asked, inquisitively.

“Maybe!”

“How old are you, again, Hannie?”

I inwardly cringed, knowing exactly where this conversation was heading. “I’m 18.”

“Well, then why don’t YOU have a boyfriend? You’re 18, you should have one.”

“You have to wait for the right person,” I replied to her. “I haven’t found the right person yet.”

“Well, why don’t you? You’re 18.”

This persistent question, after all was said and answered, struck me the wrong way. This is a seven-year-old little girl that seemed absolutely bamboozled, not even being able to grasp why someone wouldn’t have a boyfriend at any given time. We kept talking and it seemed she could not fathom the idea of being older and not having a boyfriend.

As the conversation progressed, it seemed this little seven-year-old had already bought into the dreaded lie that many of us women tend to fall into: That we *gasp* need a guy in order to make us happy or complete. If you don’t see that as a societal issue, then it’s okay. We’ll work on that.

By my niece asking this seemingly innocent (yet quite intrusive) question, it revealed something very alarming. A worldview forming already, filled to the brim with all-too-serious implications.

If these young girls continue to believe what society, and perhaps the people around them are teaching them, this will not bode well. The belief that we are not anybody unless we have somebody is a destructive lie being circulated around the populace. A majority of growing up and becoming comfortable with who we are as a person comes from times where we are single. In all honesty, in order to have a healthy steady relationship later on, we must know ourselves and be independent in who we are.

I want to challenge head-on this belief of always needing somebody.

I believe instead of indoctrinating girls that the end-all in life is to settle for quantity of guys and not for quality, we need to tell girls to wait for someone that is worth their time. Knowing yourself and your value is the only way a relationship will really work in the end.

Your sole focus should be on being a somebody, not on being somebody’s. (That’s how the quote goes, right)? I love it.

Many times we love to blame society as a whole, instead of recognizing society is made up of us- everyday people. This means we must make a stand and do whatever we can do to help girls around us, and better ourselves, with the right beliefs.

All those who consist within society (news flash: that’s everyone) need to take a good look at the consequences of what we teach to our youth. Now, I’m only 18, but it’s taken years to realize some of these things for myself, realizing I can be completely content at whatever phase in life.

If we pressure girls to simply be in a relationship for the sole sake of being in a relationship, then we are more often than not pressuring them to settle for people who do not treat them right, and do not care for the greater good of them as individuals.

OR, on the other hand, it pressures girls that every friendship with a guy needs to be, or become, something more.

Not so. I’m a firm believer you need some brothers to have your back. No matter who makes fun of you for it…because, believe it or not, people can be pretty cruel about that, too.

So, how do we teach girls to be somebodies? Or better yet, how do we re-teach ourselves, after years of continually finding our value in a relationship status (or lack thereof)?

Well, first off…

We are responsible for our own happiness

Yes, you will find your person that you instantly just click with! BUT- at the end of the day- YOU alone are the person that can make or break you. YOU are responsible for your happy. Do not base it off of anything or anyone you can lose. And do not base your happiness off of whether you are in a relationship or not.  That will only lead to disappointment.

Know Your Worth

If nobody has ever told you before, you have value. And our value has nothing to do with how great we are at things, or how pretty we are, or the fact that we can juggle ten oranges at one time. (Good thing, because I can’t even juggle a schedule).

Our worth is completely independent from us. So, what does that mean? It means we have worth because we are humans, beautifully and wonderfully made. That’s apart from anything foolish you’ve ever done, or said, or thought. It’s easy to say that…but to act it and remind ourselves that?

Hm. That’s when things get tricky.

You are your own person

You may think this one is a no-brainer, but a lot rides on the full understanding of this belief.

We are individuals responsible for our own happiness, growth, and feelings of being fulfilled in life. If you are looking to find your identity in someone else, that’s not going to do you well. (Oops, I spilled the beans). Yes, our significant others should be people we feel happy around, and that encourage us to be better than we were yesterday. BUT- there is a distinct difference of finding someone that make you happy, and finding your happiness in people.

If we look for a relationship like this, what happens when the hard times come? We run away…because aren’t relationships supposed to be sunshine and roses? Nope. The ones worth it, are the ones worth fighting for.

Before getting to know anyone else, you should know YOURSELF

Before going into a relationship, we should always have a firm grasp on who we are, our values, our beliefs, our intentions…all of it. If you don’t have a good grasp on any of these things, you’re more than likely walking into a relationship blind as a bat.

Be PATIENT

Remember what I said about earlier- the whole pressure from outside sources thing? Well, guess what. IT’S A HUGE DEAL. So, don’t let yourself get pushed around into going along with something for the sake of obligation, or pressure. You’re in charge of your own life, dear. Remember, never go along with something just out of the feeling that you “need a boyfriend”.

Patience is key. And hey- guess what! I’m learning this, too! College is coming up, and I’m going to have to take my own advice. So, you’re not alone if you’re reteaching yourself that you’re a somebody without a somebody.

Quality over quantity.

I hope this post got you thinking and that we can spread this message to all you beautiful souls! (Hey, guess what, fellas)? Honestly, this message that I just said…not gender specific. I recommend it to all humans! Just felt that it was on my heart to write this.

Hannah

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Where There’s a Flower, There’s a Photoshoot

Back so soon? Wow. It’s like I’m finally getting the hang of this whole “blogging daily” thing. Whew. Better not jinx it. Let’s move on…

I’m the type of person who tries to find beauty everywhere and in the smallest of things. And, apparently today “everywhere” included the garden section of Lowe’s and Walmart, and “the smallest of things” were flowers. You’re an intelligent human being. You can about guess where I’m going with this scenario.

Well, naturally, any self-respecting photographer-in-training is going to take advantage of the objects before them, thus almost always leading to an impromptu photo shoot.

I mean, come on. This blog is for sharing my work, whatever that may be, and I feel like doing just that with the outcome of this spur of the moment appreciation of nature and gardening stores.

So here are some of my amazing (and very cooperative) models of this high budget photo session. I sure hope you get sarcasm because there sure was a lot of it in here

Welp. That’s it, folks.

Thanks for paying attention to my lil’ ol’ blog and make sure you stick around for another installment. Maybe next time we’ll visit an ACTUAL garden. Hey! Don’t look at me like that. It’s possible..

Hannah

If You’re Passing through the Waters…

I don’t know why I had the urge to write this tonight. It kind of washed over me, like something I knew I had to do. I mean- I haven’t written a blog post in months, but tonight…it’s something I’m doing.

I hope this blog post meets you right where you’re at. Maybe you’re feeling great- I’m glad! Maybe you’re not feeling anything in particular. Maybe you’re feeling the whole world crash around you, and you don’t know why…or you know exactly why.

The thing is, I don’t know you’re situation. All I know is that when we go through heartbreaking moments, moments when we have little to no peace, moments when we are being challenged in all we are and all we stand for, we often feel like the pain will never end, that we’ll just be stuck in it forever. We feel like we are alone in our suffering, and that no one understands. How wrong we are, my friend.

The truth is, there are many of us who feel the same way, we just never speak up. We feel that people won’t look at us the same way when they see us in our struggling moments. Maybe that is the case, but I want to tell you something…nothing in your life happens on accident. I don’t know your worldview, what you believe, what you put your hope in. But I trust that God has an infinitely bigger plan for you than you do yourself right now.

And because nothing happens on accident, as I stated earlier…your story, however unique and tough that may be, was meant to happen just the way it did. Maybe to grow you as an individual, maybe so that you can be challenged in your beliefs, maybe so you can use your pain and lessons to help other people who are going through similar, maybe we won’t completely know why! But-we can take comfort that nothing is going to go to waste!

These waves that are tossing you about tonight, they aren’t meant to drown you, my friend. They’re meant to make you a better swimmer.

So, no. You aren’t alone tonight if you feel like you’re barely getting by. You’re not alone in all those tough moments that no one else sees, and all the pain no one else knows you endure. You’re only being made stronger by the trials that you are going through, and while each wave takes us, we can have full confidence that we will be growing through it all.

Isaiah 43:1-2 says,

“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.”

When we place our trust not in ourselves, but onto the God who formed us and takes care of us, we are made that much stronger by His power. The chains that once kept us from being free are released, and we can live happier, more joyful lives, trusting the Lord with all our cares. He promises you won’t drown. He will lift you up through it all.

Your trusty blogger (who seriously needs to find time to blog more),

Hannah

Be “Yourself”–A Poem Confronting Society

Be “Yourself”

But make sure yourself is a size 2

Blonde

Thigh-gapped

Cheerleader

Dating a football player

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself wears the perfect clothes

Not too little clothing

Not too much

You don’t want to be labelled easy

Certainly don’t want to be prudish, either, now do we?

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself wears makeup

Not too much

Not too little

Guys like you natural

But not that natural

 

Be yourself.

But make sure yourself talks the perfect amount.

Not too little

Not too much

Too little you must be “shy”

Too much you must be a “loudmouth”

 

Be yourself.

No, not that way.

Be yourself the way the way those runway models tell you

The way those sparkling individuals on the magazines scream at you to be.

 

And one last thing…

Conform.

Make sure yourself is just like everyone else.

…Be yourself

_________________________________________

Alright, you little readers, you.

This is a stark contrast to the humorous and bantering commentary of important matters that naturally springs forth from my pen to this blog..hmm, well, actually what springs forth from my laptop to this blog! …But I need you to know something. Confronting society itself isn’t always going to be a “running through wildflowers while licking an oversized lollipop” kind of thing people wish it would be. FOR EXAMPLE…on this very entry, someone made sure to point out how “upbeat” and “positive” the poem was. (Then pointed out they were using sarcasm).

This poem was for that reason exactly. This individual was simply proving my point. There will be myriads of people that you come across in life that feel you should cater to their negative opinions. As my good ol’ mom always says, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

That being said, if we want to make any change for the better in this day and age, we need to be bold to expose society’s hypocrisy for what it is. Hypocrisy! We don’t want to tip-toe around these issues! This poem’s purpose was to open more peoples’ eyes to the lies they have been told about what true beauty really is, and to tell them, “Nope. You’ve been lied to. Beauty comes from the inside, and by the way… you don’t have to constantly obsess about what people think of you! Isn’t that awesome?! If you’re living happy, healthy, and kindly, then you’re better for it! Ignore the shallow.”

So, of course, this piece is going to be raw, and it’s going to be vulnerable. It’s sending a message.

I wanted to write something meaningful that depicted the confusion that youth and adults are faced with today, the ever-changing opinions and expectations of a world gone mad with ideals. A world we are faced with. Whether it be high school, the lunch room at work, or plain old anywhere…you shouldn’t have to change everything about yourself to feel worthy or accomplished.

This poem is supposed to show how all the seemingly “harmless” opinions add up to where no one feels they can win. This what society is instilling into us, and we need to do our best to reject those lies told to us in our everyday life.

We, indeed, should truly and authentically be ourselves. (And not the cookie-cutter image people are expecting us to live up to). This poem’s root and underlying purpose is to show one person at a time that the world around us is always going to have an opinion. About what we look like, what we sound like, what we act like, it’s always trying to categorize. It’s our job to go against the grain, and be who we really are, no strings attached. If that means being a cheerleader, a soccer player, a run of the mill average ol’ human being, do it with spunk and do it knowing your worth.

You’ll be better for it in the end if you shrug off the “you’re this” and “you’re that”.

You are precious the way you are, and unless its hurting yourself or others, be authentically you.

Signing off,

Hannah

Growth, Trees, and..what? Patience??

Hey, you! Yeahh, you. The one with that weird haircut and your eyes glued to the screen. Gosh. You look like you haven’t gone outside in months. Well, good news, couch potato! I definitely haven’t forgotten about you..although I wouldn’t blame you if you’d forgotten ME, at this rate.. Completely going off the blogging grid after posting an entry about my hopeful “blog schedule”? Ironic for even me, but seriously..

These last few months have been a roller coaster of ups and downs, and making time to post was nearly impossible. But no fear. I’ve still been writing! You guys just haven’t seen any of it yet. So, buckle your seat belts, folks. The silence is over, thank gosh. It was driving me a little crazy knowing I haven’t posted in so long, when I know I have more meaningful content to write than ever before.

This was written two days ago in the morning, looking out on the wonderful landscape of my high school Providence Christian Academy’s campus.

“The trees are winding and twisting every which way. They grow however they grow, effortlessly. Without a care in the world, they trust the tale of time to show them who they’ll be.

Patience. The tree has patience like no other. It cannot see itself growing. Actually, to HIM it seems like he’s forever rooted in one place. With no change to come.

But slowly, it realizes that there is meaning to the life even the smallest and the lowest of us are granted. Just takes trust.”

dscn1964
These are some pictures I have taken at my high school’s campus last year, in the founding year of the school.

tree

But yes..I’m here to stay and have more content to come, including an entry of my relatively recent trip to New York City, around the time that the protests were going on.

In all the busy of these last few months, I’ve even gotten behind in reading what some of my favorite blogs have been posting! In the days and weeks and months to come, I will be working overtime. This isn’t something I’m going to give up on.

So, stick around for the ride..

Your lil ol’ blogger signing out,

Hannah

Junior Year & Growing Pains

Well, I’m here to break the news to everyone.

Five days ago, officially, I became a big bad junior in high school. Approximately one year until senior year, about ten giant leaps closer to graduation. So, yes, you’ve heard right. Hannah is growing up.

Wait! What are you doing?

Oh, come on! Pull it together, man! There’s no crying in blogging!

The truth is, it hadn’t even sunk into me until the first week of school that I, indeed, was finally one of those “big kids” that I always wanted to be more like. In second grade I remember my best friend Brooke and I always looking at the juniors and seniors, planning and imagining what we’d be like when we were finally “grown up” and about to go to college like them.

Now, instead of playing pretend we’re actually getting dangerously close to being on our own. Weird, huh? The days feel like years and the years are feeling like days.

So…my mom and I were going school shopping last week, just a girl’s night for her and I. Notebooks, binders, pens, highlighters, and the likes…nothing exciting, but just going out and shopping together, having fun.

We were walking through the busy aisles and talking and laughing as we are accustomed to doing. She stops in her tracks in front of the food department and smiles a sad little smile at me.

“This is one of the last times I’m going to go school shopping with my baby.”

I smile back at her and wave off the comment. “Hey, maybe not! I’d have seven more years of this if I go to law school.”

She laughs, and we continue on the long voyage through the seemingly endless aisles of Walmart. Eventually, we check out with about our cart filled to the brim with school supplies.

And trust me, when I tell you this, guys…if there were ever a paper shortage on earth, just holla at me and I’ll send a notebook your way. When notebooks are 17 cents, we’re going to take advantage of it.

But, after the school supply fiasco, my mom and I still hadn’t eaten (at almost 9), so we decided to make a late night Wendy’s stop. We went inside, laughed, ate, talked, all as my mother tried her best to embarrass me by singing to the oldies on the overhead radio, but she didn’t embarrass me! (Mostly, because practically no one was there, but still…that’s progress!)

I knew at that very moment, this was a time that I’d remember for the rest of my life. Being with my mom, one of my very best friends (and sometimes, arch nemesis), and just having her be there for me. I know I’m lucky in that aspect. I have both my parents and they love me, no matter how much I resist them and would like my freedom at times, I know I would be lost without them.

So, on my first day as a junior, I could tell my mom was a little off. Being a mother is a tough deal. You take care of someone for years and years and then you are expected to let go…just like that.

I guess this piece is mostly to reassure everyone (especially those moms out there) that if your kid is growing up, don’t be scared! Being a mom doesn’t end at a specific point. I’ll always need my mom, no matter how old I am. Her motherhood doesn’t have an expiration date.

So, Mom..(since I’m sure we all pretty much know that this was directed toward you), thanks for all you do for our family and all that you have done specifically for me. I really appreciate it. I’m feeling all that excitement and joy looking forward to the future and all there is to come! I know you are too 🙂

Hannah