Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reader Help

I realize I only have about 5 readers to this thing - or a lot of silent lurkers I'm not sure which but I need some real input to this one. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

I have been asked to consult for a therapy group that I belong to. They have been doing workshops on "loving your body" and self esteem for women. So many of the women came back from the experience asking about one for their teenage daughters that they are currently developing it. I am working with them in coming up with creative ideas on getting through to girls 12-18. As I have been pondering all sorts of things for the workshop the one item that continues to come up for me is this:

When I was a teenager was there a time that I ever felt confident or pretty? They were few and far between but there were a couple of "incidents". The one that stands out for me above the others, was the first time someone took a semi-pro photo of me in my early 20's. I had never seen myself in that light [literally] I wasn't notably skinnier/ect it just came down to some fun wardrobe, good lighting and this person capturing me in something other than a horrible school photo/ or instant camera shot. I still have those photos and still marvel at them occasionally -was that really me?

So here is my question for you today: Describe a moment when you felt self confident or good about yourself as a teen or 20-ish person - please explain [if necessary] how you got to that point ie: Learning to apply makeup? a favorite outfit? Journaling? sports? dance class? I'm not a therapist so I don't know what happens for other people. You could possibly help a little girl have a few more moments of feeling good about herself should I come up with an interesting creative project tied into it.


Elaine said...

Ah....My summer of slutness. For about 10 minutes in 1998 I had an awesome body! I had been working out a ton and dieting and the gods came together and decided that for once, Elaine would be the chick with the good body. I was so confident that summer. Even being in L.A. where I always felt like an ugly duckling compared to all of the beautiful women, I felt rad!

Is that what you meant?



Richie Designs said...

Yes, it's what I meant but then again I can't advocate a summer of slutness to teenage girls to get themselves to feel better.

Thanks for playing though.

Anyone else?

elaine said...

Oh. Sorry. Yeah I didn't think of that. I will ask my the peeps at GGC to check this out. Just a warning, DPH may have some things to say.

x to the o


the monse said...

Um. I really didn't feel confident at all until I came out of the closet. I'm sure you can't advocate that either, but i highly recommend it for any baby dykes who may attend your workshop.
In a distant second is the confidence I felt (and still feel) when I built or repaired things. There's something about properly completing a physical task that makes me feel incredibly powerful and self-sufficient and hot. I am happiest when my muscles ache and I can look at a thing that WORKS because I made it so. Ego-centric, eh?

Erin & Liann said...

There are a few instances but one that kinda popped out to me is when I turned 16.

My mother threw me a "sour" sixteen hawaiian (did I spell that right) themed birthday party. A friend of mine even made shirts that said "I got leid at Mallory's luau" or something like that... We had water fights and set up a fun little bar in the garage.. My mom made virgin daquiris and margaritas for everyone. It was a blast. And everyone LOVED the idea of a sour sixteen b-day party.

I felt confident and secure in the individuality of my party and the fact that everyone loved it.

so... ummm... yeah....


Anonymous said...

Um, Elaine, what a bad message! "The one time I felt really good about myself was when I had a great body." I think the point is to show how one can be comfortable with one's body, however it looks, and not to further reiterate the idea that one can't and shouldn't be confident until their body is "perfect."

SGM said...

Unfortunately, mine doesn't help much either...I always felt best when I was tan! Also--similar to Elaine--I always felt better when boys were paying attention to me. It sucks to be a teenager!
Seems like image is determined by your peer group. In my small town, the popular kids would laugh at me every time I took a fashion risk--even though I thought I looked great. I just wish someone would have told me to fake a little confidence! I also agree with you that a little make up and flattering clothes help. Oh God, I sound like my mother.
Good luck!

Jessica said...

When I was in the 7th-9th grade I tried out 3 times for cheerleading. All of my friends were cheerleaders and I was dying to be one. I never made it and I was crushed everytime. 10th grade I decided screw it and tried out for the dance team. I made it and 11th and 12th grade I was the Captain and choreographer. It was a very good feeling for me to find my niche. I had ALWAYS wanted to be a cheerleader but, it just wasn't my strength. Dance has always made me happy and leading an entire team of girls boosted my self confidence like crazy (kinda gave me a slight ego trip too but, you can leave that out :)


Jessica said...

I have another one! In high school I was in every musical. I wasn't the best singer but, I had that dancing thing and I was very versitile. There came about in Annie a solo. They held auditions and the girls I was up against were really sooo much better than me. I was intimidated but, I decided to give it my best and just not be scared. I won the part!! That was an amazing feeling. I still wasn't a better singer but, I had what they wanted for that part. So even if YOU think you don't have what it takes you have to at least try and see what happens. You might be surprised :)

Richie Designs said...

This is great it helps fuel the creative fires for me. It seems like everyone has a moment of feeling good around achieving something they didn't think was possible.

great things to think about!!

thanks so much for your input everyone!

Angeleen said...

When I was a sophomore I went out for track because my friend did. I didn't run. Yuck! NEVER! I did the "weight events"... shot put, discus and javelin... Not very well.

I joined swim team to "train" for track and loved it so much, I never went back to track. I wasn't good at that either, but the coach made me believe I could get better. Much better.

One early morning practice I watched Marco Morescalchi (a boy I had a crush on) do the butterfly and it was the most beautiful thing I had seen up to that point. So graceful and powerful. I looked at my coach and said, "I want to do THAT!"

He said, "Ok, I'm setting a goal for you to swim fly in the first home meet."

I was terrified.

First I had to LEARN how to do the fly, then I had to do it well enough to swim it at a meet. GAH!

The first home meet came and I swam the 100m butterfly. I sucked. I came in not just last, but so last that everyone else was out of the pool and dry before I was finished. I was so exhausted when I hit the wall that I just sank back into the water because I couldn't pull myself up out of the pool.

Two sets of hands lifted me straight out of the water. One set belonged to one of my best friends at the time who was a champion swimmer, the other was my coach... and they both had tears in their eyes.

That melted all the humiliation away in an instant.

I was proud of me because they were proud of me. It didn't matter how badly I competed, they knew what a huge personal goal I had achieved.

I went on to get the award for most improved swimmer at the end of the year. I was never a great swimmer. Never won anything, but the coach always treated me like I was a champion and that made me feel like I could do anything.

...and I can still do a pretty wicked flip turn to this day. :)

Richie Designs said...

Thanks Angeleen that is a GREAT story!

Wendy said...

This is a hard one, one I'm not sure I have the time to do justice to right now.

First of all, you just can't tell girls to get thin and tan and then they'll feel better about themselves. Or even that they should try out for the school musical because if they don't get the part (or the place on the squad or whatever) then their esteem is tied up with that failure.

I do like the stories about reaching a personal best, no matter how that's judged by others.

Girls need to know that they are, without even trying, already good enough. They just have to have the guts to believe it. And believe me, it does take guts to feel good about yourself in our society. We don't like women that are confident and proud. It scares us.

Sorry, this probably isn't much help. Myself, the first time I felt what you described was due to external circumstances that I had no control over. A friend of my friend's dad once told me that I had the most beautiful freckles he'd ever seen. It wasn't creepy or anything, just an honest compliment. From that day forward, I adored my freckles. I think what I liked most was that they were something that was very distinctive about me. He appreciated my uniqueness, that I didn't look like everyone else. And that really meant something.

We tend to compare ourselves to others, to try to be just like them, but we'd all be a lot happier if we realized how fantastic all of our differences really are. They make the world much more interesting.

And BTW fantastic story, Angeleen!

I'd point anyone interested to the Real Women Project. Their Real Woman Creed is so inspiring.

Good luck!