I was an AWOL Fashion Blogger yesterday because I spent most of the day working on a project called Girl Power (no, it's not a massive campaign to get the Spice Girls back together, although that's definitely a worthy cause too).
It's for a class I'm taking of the same name, and basically what we do is conduct a series of in-depth discussions (we call 'em "rap sessions") with groups of teenage girls, and then create a zine using their words (if any of my college professors were dead they would be turning in their graves right now because I just linked to Wikipedia). The point is to show these girls that their voices matter and give them a safe place to talk about their lives.
My partner and I did our first rap session yesterday, and it was seriously one of the most amazing experiences of my life. These girls were just seventeen or eighteen and had been through abuse, pregnancy, addiction, gang violence. They told us things that were really hard to hear, but it was so inspiring to see that they still had light in their eyes (although a few of them had been substantially dimmed). I mean, the people in these girls' lives had gone to horrific measures to put that light out, but they couldn't.
This one seventeen-year-old, a beautiful, vivacious sparkplug of a human being, said that her mom often tells her "I wish you were dead." I watched that girl later as she smiled and laughed and talked about her future and I thought, "Wow. That is strength."
Life is hard enough when everyone's rooting for you.
Obviously, Girl Power is a pretty specific project that not everyone can be involved in, but I wanted to take this opportunity to ask (plead with?) anyone who is interested in this sort of thing to think about volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I've had a "little sister" for almost two years now, and it is so fun and rewarding. As corny as it sounds, all it takes is an hour a week, and you make such a difference. My little sister's grades went from F's to A's within a year of starting the program (not to brag. well, okay, yeah, I'm bragging, but isn't that just too cool??). You can get a lil' sis if you're 18 or older, and you don't have to do anything heroic like tutor them in long division everyday (gag). My little sister and I go to the mall and complain about how expensive Macy's is, but drinking those Orange Juliuses (Orange Julii?) together and listening to what she has to say is enough.
I've always been of the mindset that since I made it through adolescence relatively unscathed, I owe it to other girls to help them do the same. And I really have thought for a long time now that so many of my regular readers and commenters would make excellent Big Sisters. You guys are so clever and kind and have such unique views of the world. You are wonderful (and stylish) people to look up to.
If you have questions or even an ounce of interest in volunteering, send me an email and I'll give you the scoop.
Sorry if that post was way too serious (and a bit high on the cornball factor) for a Saturday morning read, but I'm still a mushy little pile of emotions and I had to emote (plus, if I'd tried to write a regular post right now it would have come out like, "Isn't this dress adorable? WE MUST SAVE OUR YOUNG WOMEN!" and that would have been confusing).
In case you really just wanted a laugh today, here is a picture of a smiling goat:
God, that gets me every time.
Thanks for hearing me out. More lighthearted fashion to come.