Why do you start something? When was the moment you stopped thinking about what you wanted to do and simply began doing it?
When I chose to start Girl Noticed, my “why” was very strong and I was very emotionally connected to it. It was so powerful for me that it was the very first thing I posted on the website. I thought if you, the viewer, could understand my why, then everything else would make sense. You’d get it.
Starting the new year many of us are attempting to start new things. Whether your project is an external one or an internal one, maybe about change, personal growth, authenticity, ask yourself your why. Know the message you want to send, the impact you want to have, what drives you to do what you do, why it matters.
Its been 3 years since I discovered my “why”. In those 3 years I have had days where I thought maybe I had taken Girl Noticed as far as I could take it. I’ve been discouraged in moments when I had 4 walls confirmed in 4 different states, and one by one they each fell through. I’ve gotten my hopes up when people of influence wanted to help, shared in my enthusiasm and passion, and we could just never seem to jump that last hurdle and make things happen.
My vision has grown and evolved over the past 3 years. I have new goals and new ideas.
When I loose my focus, when I get overwhelmed, when I have a bad day, I return to my why. It keeps me grounded. It reminds me that Girl Noticed although it was born from my experience, isn’t about me, its about the lives I touch, and what I leave behind.
As I begin 2018 I couldn’t be more excited about Girl Noticed and the possibilities of growth. I hope you’ll join me as we make this the most change provoking year yet, and if you see me get off track, just remind me of my why.
Have you figured out yours?
This is me, age 7. Fearless, jump from the highest step, climb the biggest tree, scraped knees, no one messes with me, 7 year old me.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but looking back I can understand why. Why this wide eyed hopeful, full of spirit and guts kid all of a sudden was afraid of everything. I suppose it was because the steps I used to jump from also led to the house where I never quite felt good enough. My accomplishments seemed insignificant and my dreams were dismissed. It happened when suddenly my changing body brought attention that was neither asked for nor wanted and left me feeling ashamed and small.
I was a lucky one, because although these things had held me back, making me doubt myself, finding myself in situations where I was influenced too easily in an attempt to find the acceptance I was so desperately seeking, my spirit never completely died. I was a lucky one because a handful of special people in my life recognized my thoughts and dreams and validated my ideas, and believed in me, so my hope stayed alive.
Not all girls are so lucky. Some will have their spirit and hope ripped from them at an early age, never to realize their full potential. Others it will happen later in life, maybe when they’ve reached an age where their bodies begin to change again and their value and self worth is dismissed now by a society and its demands on being young and perfect. A society that demands you look and act a specific way all at an attempt to fit into an impossible mold. They may never have the people in their life that took the time to notice, or they may not have the spirit and hope left to celebrate their 7 year old self.
I notice. I notice it in the eyes of every woman and girl I meet. I notice it in the lines that have formed around their mouths, or how high they hold their head. This is what I wish to express in my portraits. The strength, courage and tenacity in every girl and woman.
Because everyday a girl or woman is left unnoticed, is a day too long.