Stephanie Pearce: Girls, girls, girls
Oh, to be young again. Actually, I don’t wish to be young again, but it would be nice to feel young again. Watching teenage girls figure out who they are can be very entertaining. My daughter has two friends — one that’s 18 and one that’s almost 15 — and my daughter is 15. Each girl is at very different points at finding who they are. Each of them still needs guidance, reassurance and lots of love.
One of the girls acts very sure of herself. She is very outspoken, and, to the world, might seem like she’s very strong. When you get to know her, though, you meet the girl who is soft spoken. You see the girl who does things to push you away, just to see if you’re strong enough to stay. She’s the one who needs the most reassurance that you love her. She needs the most compliments because she really isn’t sure of herself. She has walls built very high so she doesn’t get hurt, but unfortunately, she does hurt. A lot.
Then there’s the girl who is shy, reserved and is great at sports. She is the honor student, the athlete and she doesn’t like to be in large groups of people that she doesn’t know. She’s just learning that she is beautiful and boys also are taking notice. She doesn’t know if she wants them to yet, though. Except a certain one who she thinks doesn’t know she’s alive. She’s learning by observing the other girls how to flirt, but she hasn’t had enough guts to put any of it into practice. She wants to but still isn’t ready. And that’s just fine.
Then there’s the girl that’s in between. She is ready to put herself out there, but has been hurt just enough that she’s starting to build walls. She genuinely was confident in herself until people misread her confidence for forwardness and made her feel bad for believing in herself. The people had no idea how hard their judgmental attitudes changed her view of herself in a negative way. She still believes in herself, but in the back of her mind, she’s now wondering what others are thinking of her and it holds her back in many ways. She is at the point where she needs assurance that she doesn’t need to worry so much about what people think as much as how she makes them feel.
Each of the girls has so much to teach the other. The biggest thing they can learn from one another is that no matter where they are in their life, they still always can be there for one another. They can be the encouragement to one another. They can be one another’s nonjudgmental shoulder and each other’s strength. Knowing that they have one another no matter what makes lifelong friendships.
As an adult, I find it’s good to let each of these girls know that I love them just as they are. That they are normal and every girl has been where they are or will be where they are. It’s important that they see that bullying isn’t the way to treat one another, so adults shouldn’t do it to them either. I hope these girls each know how important they are to me and as much as they learn from me, I learn from them.
The deadline to vote is Monday, May 20.