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Sunday, July 6, 2014

For my readers

With my blog, I get to see what posts are the most popular. I am so much more than pretty has become the number one post.
Which warms my heart, and saddens me equally, because I know this is a struggling topic for so many. I want to share an updated, but still the same, view.

When I was in Bali, specifically in a city called Lovina, I was appalled by how women were treated. A local woman told me, “Lots of women are raped, or get an STD from their husband.” I asked, “Are they getting married to men who have STD’s?” She replied, “Oh no, the women are cheated on. And when asked about it, the men say it’s because their wives are no longer attractive.”
I walked home that night feeling dirty. The air was thick and hot. Men sat on street corners cat-calling. I ignored them, picking up my pace. One man with a band on his left hand stared me up and down. I got this feeling like, this is all a game for them. Indispensable, interchangeable, my worth only residing in one thing. Typically I get angry, but instead I said and affirmation and a prayer: You are beautiful, but not in the way he is staring at you. In the way your thoughts travel and the way you love others. Dear God, please give the women here the strength to love themselves. To not leave their opinion of themselves with them men resting on the street corners. Please God use me where you need me.”
The next day, I hurried into a local nail salon. The two girls that were working were both 16, both were pregnant. I kept telling them about America in the easiest terms I can, about school, and current issues. But they both kept saying, “You have beautiful face.” When I would say, “You both are so beautiful! And so kind and caring.” They shook their head bashfully, no. A man pulled up in a car outside, and the girls gave him some money. They walked back in, shoulders hunched, head down. I asked if they were in school. “No.” I said, “You can! What do you want to be?” One replied, “We do this.”
And then I realized, the problem lies in how we view ourselves. At some point, we just begin to believe we are worth what people have deemed us to be. We lower our standards. We blame ourselves. We teeter totter this line of being dreamers and being the people others expect of us. The truth is, deep down inside, regardless of how long these girls have lived in this discrimination, they have viable thoughts and dreams and are both so worthy of anything they could possibly want. I cry just thinking about it. It breaks my heart that people give their lives away to others. And when they break, there is no one there to help them mend the pieces, but instead they just break them a little more, until who they are is completely unrecognizable. 
I cannot control what people do. I cannot control what people believe are right and wrong. I cannot control what happens when I travel alone, or when I step in the darkness by myself. 
But I can control what I do. I can cling tightly to my beliefs of right and wrong. I can display strength and certainty. And when thrown into situations where there seems to be an overwhelming darkness, I can remind myself, I am the light.
Those young girls in Bali etched a place in my heart. I have continually prayed for them. I have prayed for their future babies, that maybe the world will be a bit different. Maybe those babies will stand taller and be proud of who they are, not letting anyone else decide for them. 
The solution is simple. We must love ourselves. We must support each other, and realize each day that we are all incredible humans, capable of incredible things. We must realize that the hurtful words and actions of others are worthless if we can truly accept and love ourselves. 
My challenge for you readers today is to comment below what you love about yourselves and what you want to achieve. What mark you want to leave on the world. You can write words of encouragement, or what you do to remain true to yourself. This is a place for sharing and supporting friends. But most of all, it begins with loving and acknowledging what a wonderful person you are. Today my heart is so grateful for all of you.
 
What I love about myself: My drive and determination. I want to use my voice as a platform to better the world. I believe that everyone has a purpose and that the world is a better place when we remain true to ourselves.


Share below and also stop by Emily's Grateful Heart Monday over at embergrey.com. 


6 comments:

  1. Reading this makes my heart ache. I have two young daughters and the thought of them growing into young women with no self worth or belief in them selves is a devastating thought to have.

    What I love about myself... I think I love my optimism. No matter what happens in life I seem to have the ability to believe everything will get better and we will move through the bad stuff. And I am a very loyal person to the ones I love. I like those things about myself.

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    1. Hi Leigh! Thank you so much for commenting and sharing what you love about your self. It sounds like your two daughters have a wonderful mother as a role model. I hope you have a great week! xoxo

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  2. Your writing and stories shared, your thoughts shared, always touch my soul. I am so, so grateful to know you XO

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    1. oh, that sweet compliment just made my day. Thank you so much, Emily! I am so grateful to know YOU! xoxo

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  3. This is so, so beautiful and touching. I'm so sad for those girls, and for all the women who are treated in a way that makes them feel less than who they are.

    What I love about myself: my empathy. I always put myself in someone else's shoes and feel what they're feeling. It's good and bad because I never feel like I can help everyone I want to help.

    What I want to achieve: I want to do some *good* in the world. Somehow. In some way. My job was highly capitalistic and I really want to balance that out and help someone who needs help. I haven't figured out how yet.

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    1. Empathy is such a beautiful quality! I am the same way, I constantly feel the need to help everyone. I think the fact that you recognize that you want to do some good means you will. I am so sure that you will discover just what you are supposed to be doing. Thank you for stopping by and responding! xoxo

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