If you have a daughter (or a son) or were once one yourself...
If you work with children, teenagers, or young adults in any capacity in America or anywhere around the globe...I urge you to read Eve Ensler's "I am an Emotional Creature - The Secret Life of Girls Around the World."
Ensler has compiled a collection of monologues that “celebrates the authentic voice inside every girl” and is “an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams and become the women they were always meant to be.” The stories stem from girls around the world and are sad to say the least - abusive relationships, child soldiers, mutilation, factory workers, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, everyday peer pressures – the list goes on. We hear their voices and within it, we hear our own. We all have a story.
Through each story, there becomes a common theme....a fight between finding their voice or conforming to the masses and standing up for what they believe in or shutting down in attempt to please. To please: (v) to embody the wish or the will of someone other than yourself. Ensler’s research showed that 74% of women say they are under constant pressure to please others.
“To please the fashion setters, we starve ourselves. To please boys, we push ourselves when we aren’t ready. To please the popular girls, we end up acting mean to our best friends. To please our parents, we become insane overachievers. If you are trying to please, how do you take responsibility for your own needs? How do you even know what your own needs are? What do you have to cut off in yourself in order to please others? I think the act of pleasing makes everything murky. We lose track of ourselves. We stop uttering declaratory sentences. We stop directing our lives. We wait to be rescued. We forget what we know. We make everything okay rather than real.”
“This is a call to question rather than to please. To provoke, to challenge, to dare, to satisfy your own imagination and appetite. To know yourself truly. To take responsibility for who you are, to engage. This is a call to listen to the voice inside you that might want something different, that hears, that knows, the way only you can hear and know. It’s a call to your original girl self, to your emotional creature self, to move at your speed, to walk with your step, to wear your color. It is an invitation to heed your instinct to resist war, or draw snakes, or speak to the stars.”
Section 3 of the book is called Refuser. It speaks of how we get our power back from whatever fears, trauma, or abuse we may have endured in our lives – no matter how big or how small. Standing up for what we believe in, learning self-defense, stopping self-harm, helping those in need, not accepting what’s not right, finding knowledge, finding support. Ensler says, “Most everything is found in action…and when we finally have our voice and come together, when we let ourselves gather the knowledge, when we stop turning on each other, but directing our energy toward what matters, when we stop worrying about our skinny stomachs or too-frizzy hair or fat thighs, when we stop caring about pleasing and making everyone so incredibly happy – we get the Power.”
So we ask ourselves, where do we find our power?
We believe in ourselves.
We believe in one another.
We find strength in those around us.
We learn healthy dependence on one another.
We work together.
We take our time in making decisions.
We figure out what we stand for.
We stop trying to be accepted and we accept ourselves.
We stop waiting for someone to tell us what to do.
We do what we want.
We learn to share our thoughts and feelings.
We experience new things.
We ask for help.
We use our words.
We cry. We cry a lot.
We move into our bodies to feel.
We move out of our comfort zones.
We give love.
We let love in.
We stop whispering and we speak up.
We find our voice.
This is yoga. This is where I find my power.