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My Plea to Mothers Everywhere

Dear mother and mothers-to-be,

Really, this goes out to all women surrounded by young women/girls who look up to them. However, the emphasis is entirely on mothers as they are the most influential on the self-esteem of their daughters in my opinion.

There are so many women and girls in this country (and across the globe too) who are torturing themselves emotionally and physically. They are living their lives trying to be something that they are not. They are quietly suffering due to low self-esteem simply because the women who they loved the most didn't help them develop it. Many have actually had their self-esteem destroyed, both intentionally and unintentionally, by these same women. Add the destructive effects of media into that equation and you have a young girl, young woman, or a grown woman who has not learned to see her own beauty. And this breaks my heart.

I just finished watching the documentary, America the Beautiful. At the beginning of the year I got my hands on the book Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, and a couple years ago I fell in love with Dove's work on the Campaign for Real Beauty. In my opinion every mother should be aware of the issues addressed in the documentary, book, and campaign. There are tons more resources out there to learn more, but it would make a world of a difference if every mother started with even the most mainstream of materials.

Women, please hear my plea.

Think about the damage that you might be unintentionally inflicting on the young girls you are surrounded by. They look up to you whether you like it or not. Be careful how you speak about your own body, how you show your pride in your talents/strengths, and how you demonstrate love for yourself. They are watching and learning.

If you are already a mother and this comes as news to you, it is not too late. Sit down with your daughter. Tell her that you love her and why. As one of the women in the documentary perfectly stated, "Don't over appreciate your daughter based on appearance."

That doesn't mean don't tell your daughter (or niece or sister... etc) that she is beautiful. It just means don't make her feel as thought that's what your love is based on. Because what will happen on the days she doesn't feel beautiful? Will she be able to maintain her self-esteem if she does not know that she is uniquely blessed with talents/gifts? How else will she know that her spirit is amazing? Let her know that beauty comes from within as well.

I make this plea not from the voice of an expert (which I am not) or a mother (which I'm not either), but rather as a young woman who has come to appreciate the way that my mother and my sisters taught me to love myself. I just ask that you do the same for the young girls and women in your life.

Yours truly,

In the news:
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I'm Still Dreaming Big

Attempt something so big that
unless God intervenes it is bound to fail.

I found that quote last week at the Emergence Community Arts Collective on Sylvia Robinson's profile and it has not left my mind since. I saw it and it immediately had a huge impact on me because I felt it was meant for me to see.

I have big dreams for my life. I don’t know exactly how they will shape out, nor am I too worried (a very recent phenomenon, mind you). I just know and believe in what I am working toward. I believe that God has shown me my purpose, and this quote says so much to me as a result. It tells me that I should not hesitate as I move forward because I cannot accomplish it all if I don't trust that He is there.

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Addicted to Love

I’m addicted to love. I’ve come to this conclusion.

When it’s here I wrap myself in it like a safety blanket. Cuddle up with it. Throw it over my shoulder. Rub it against my cheeks. Hold it tight at night. Long for its warmth all day.

I’m an addict of love. I never want it to go. When it’s far I want it close. When it’s near I want it nearer. And when it goes it hurts my soul.

Why is it that something so beautiful can also be so painful? For some, it can even be destructive. Why is it that love loses so often in life? I’ve been shown what love can do. How love can move mountains. How love can be everything. Love is kind. Love is patient. Yet that’s not always enough.

I’m an addict of love. I never want to let it go. I hold on so tight that it simply hurts to know that love won’t always win. Not if I’m to grow.

Or maybe that is how love wins.

Photo Source
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Fave Commercial Fridays: Talk to the Moose

You can't say you don't love this one!

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Women's Earnings in the DMV

In case you missed it, last week the Washington Business Journal reported on Forbes.com's ranking of DC as the best place for working women in the US.

D.C.’s 133,000 working women made 92.2 percent of men’s earnings in July
2009. The approximate median annual salary in the District was $45,032.

Apparently Maryland ranked #2.

The 1.06 million working women in Maryland made 83.6 percent of what men earn and see an annual median salary of $40,248.

Not so bad. Except when you consider the degree to which this gap is closed due to “the plethora of high-paying government jobs — many with a regulated pay system.” But I'll take it. I'm glad I ended up staying in the DMV after college.
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Be Inspired: Shine your light.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, georgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are we not to be? You are the child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

This passage never fails to inspire me. For most of you, it sounds familiar. That's because it has been quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech in 1994 and, more recently, in the movie Akeelah and the Bee. It's from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles" which sits cozily on my bookshelf (yet to be read unfortunately).

I hope this inspires you to be your best this week.

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