Empowering Discussions

The 2014 Voice4Society Blog Award

Voice 4 Society is a youth mentoring organization who champion literacy, among many other things.  I’ve had the joy of donating books as prizes in their last 2 writing contests as well as promoting the contests.  It’s not just about winning though. Expressing ourselves through language is empowering and can heal. As a writer I want to encourage more people to read and write.

Recently they unveiled the Voice4Society Blog Award to celebrate and recognize those who support youth. Impower You was awarded along with two other talented bloggers. It’s such an amazing feeling to be celebrated for using my writing to empower others with useful skills and resources. I am honored to share with you their award which you see here: voice4society.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-voice4society-blog-award-winter-winners

textgram_1371817911Thank you so much Voice4Society!

Part of the award is sharing 5 ways I will make a “difference in this generation, my community, and the world.” Where to start?

One: I have created a book series about people creating positive change called “Up To You” and am currently working on the 3rd book. Each interviewee is selected based on how they are standing up in their communities and being the change they want to see.

Two: I teach free self defense classes and have already taught 200 women and girls since 2012. As someone who faced violence in my youth it’s important for me to know how to defend myself and being able to teach that to others is very fulfilling.

Three: I vote, contact my political representatives, and stay informed about local and national issues because living in a community means being involved and creating the change I want to see.

Four: I make it a point to talk to the youth in my life about important issues and encourage them to get involved in creating a healthy life for them and their peers.

Five:  Since college I have been volunteering regularly. I will continue to give my time to protecting our environment and supporting social initiatives that give people a hand up in my community.

The last part of the award is to nominate 10 blogs. These bloggers aren’t just writing, they are working towards a world of equality and peace for all. Please visit at least 2 and learn something new! You might even find something worth investing in, like the Philadelphia Youth Project or the Mean Girl Extinction Project.

1. Philadelphia Youth Project is engaging, encouraging, and educating our youth. philadelphiayouthproject.org

2. Self Love Warrior offers a community of daily self love actions. selflovewarrior.com

3. Marinagraphy is empowering girls and women with information. marinagraphy.com

4. Walking With the Alligators speaks for animal rights and conservation. walkingwiththealligators.wordpress.com

5. The Human Experience Blog is redefining the queer experience. thehumanexperienceblog.com

6. Jane Claypool is wisdom notes from a New Thought Author and Teacher. janeclaypool.com

7. Spark: Igniting Global Change. sparksf.wordpress.com

8. The Mean Girl Extinction Project is combating “mean girls” one bully at a time. the-mean-girl-extinction-project.com

9. Life out of the Box. lifeoutofthebox.com

10.  Helping Women Helps the World. hwhtw.wordpress.com

Is There a Blog or Website That Inspires You? Share it Below in a Comment!

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Empowering Discussions

You will Never Be Pretty! Because Pretty is Obsolete.

I spent years calling myself ugly. As a gangly, uneven toothed, frizzy haired, flat chested, acne sprouting teenager all I wanted was to be pretty and I fully believed the mean girls and the media that told me I was ugly. I spent all my money on clothes, makeup, and fashion magazines that made me feel worse not better. Every time I heard the whole “inner beauty” line I reeled in disgust. I kept that belief long after my acne cleared, my curves came in and I learned how to calm my hair. My teeth are still uneven, but that’s not my concern.

I Define BeautifulI don’t like the saying “real beauty is on the inside”. It’s misleading. We should be explaining to our daughters and nieces that real beauty COMES from the inside because beauty is something WE decide based on our own ideas. I recently heard a spoken word poet on her experience with “pretty”. Her mom gave her plastic surgery as a gift to fix her crooked nose and constantly told her that it was okay because they would MAKE her pretty. The message she wants to tell her own daughter is that you will be pretty smart, pretty talented, pretty awesome, but never just plain pretty.  Listen to Katie Makkai’s rant about beauty on Upworthy,  http://www.upworthy.com/this-womans-beef-with-prettiness-will-leave-you-speechless?g=2

Beauty has become this disgusting obsession that means so little to me now. I don’t care about being pretty anymore. It is the most freeing decision of all that I made so far. I want to continue to be successful, I want to keep learning until the day I expire, I want to be healthy, but I don’t want to be pretty. I want the goals of girls to be about intelligence and inner growth and knowledge, not attraction to others. There are women who look like the current version of beauty who think they are ugly. That alone should prove how demeaning it is for women to concern themselves with outer beauty. Now boys and men also feel ugly and crave this boringly conformed idea of who is handsome. Stop the madness!  Start a revolution.

This was written in response to Voice4 Society blog, http://voice4society.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/dear-god-can-you-make-me-beautiful

Want more proof that beauty is not necessary for success and happiness? Lizzie Valasquez is one of the most beautiful women in the world, but some angry unhealthy people call her the ugliest. http://thelasttradition.blogspot.com/2012/09/worlds-ugliest-woman-lizzie-velasquez.html

What do I love about not wanting to be pretty? I have more time to do things I love. I have more money to spend on things that are important to me. I only need  a few minutes in the bathroom to get ready each morning. I can focus my thoughts and energy on inner growth and philosophical reflection. Other people’s concerns don’t bother me. My mental health has improved.

So let’s keep talking and blogging about it until beauty becomes the least important part of us.

Do you think you are beautiful? Do you care?