Category Archives: girls’ empowerment

For My Teenage Daughter

When my daughter comes back from school and tells me everyone is calling her a drama queen because she stands up for her right to be treated with respect, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she slams her bedroom door and I go in to listen and comfort her and she tells me boys wonder how much she costs in bed, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is angry at the injustice of being a woman even in this day and age because she feels she isn’t valued as much as boys, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is told to calm down, sit pretty, be quiet, behave because she’s a girl, I cringe and die a little inside.

BUT when my beautiful daughter stands up to the ones who bring her down because of jealousy and hate and she is able to keep going and keep reaching higher and higher, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my shy daughter asks me for her own Menarche Ceremony in order to bless and acknowledge her becoming a woman, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my strong daughter shows amazing empathy for causes that are dear to her heart and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my proud daughter dresses as she likes and wears what she wants and isn’t influenced by others and refuses to conform, I laugh with glee and tell her she can, most definitely, without a doubt, do what SHE wants!

How I wish I could take away the pain of growing up, the occasional anguish of being a girl. How I wish I could carry you far, far away from the negative experiences of growing up. I sometimes dream of a meadow, of us laying in the flowers and the scented swaying grasses, just you and I, safe, sheltered, protected from the harshness of this life. I cannot do such things, and so I rest in the comfort that I, my dear daughter, I have taught you well.

This life will bring you immense joy, and yes, sometimes immense pain, but I know that you can and will remember. Remember to look within, remember to search deep down for your truth, remember, dear daughter, that you come from a long long line of women, and we call you One of Us. You, my dear one, are WOMAN, and you are precious beyond words.”

10682113_10154618189730096_2124383018_nGenevieve Losier is a stay at home mama of three who has also been working closely with women and girls in the last 10 years, having successfully built her brand of organic designer cloth pads and advocating the whys of choosing cloth for both their babies and themselves.  She also is extremely passionate about herbalism, connecting to women through the Red Tent, and advocating women’s rights.  Her own connection to our beautiful earth and the nature that surrounds her pushes her forward with intent.  Genevieve is building her knowledge of healing herbs and is excited about offering wild harvested and healing products to others so they too can make a conscious choice on what they put on and in their bodies.  Her goal is to promote and help heal women as well as our Mother Earth with healing medicines, and supporting other women in their quest for a better Earth.  You can find her at;

www.facebook.com/theclothcanoe

theclothcanoe@gmail.com

 

Confident Carry – Overcoming Shame Around Menstrual Products

Today’s guest post is from Period Wise, and touches on a really important issue: shame and menstrual products which was sparked by a recent event in a school in the US.

A teenage girl who was suspended for concealed carry of menstrual supplies [in a school system which requires that everything be brought into school in a clear plastic bag to facilitate security checks] sheds light on a problem that sadly still plagues us – a lack of confidence among those who menstruate and a lack of understanding among those who do not.

Apparently the Principal’s position is that teenage girls should feel confident enough to place their feminine hygiene needs in a clear bag for all the world to see and carry it with them to class throughout the days they are menstruating, or expect to become menstrual.

Social taboos and menstrual myths abound and affect all.

Rules are established – and followed – without real consideration to the needs of half (and perhaps over half) of the population of a school…group…gathering…attendees of functions….

And, perhaps that’s what these girls should do until this rule is struck down. Perhaps the girls should band together and bring feminine hygiene products in a clear confident carry bag every day whether they are menstruating or not.

I wish all girls and women were so confident in themselves and with menstruation that they were comfortable doing just that.  It would go a long way in ending the embarrassment that so often (and unnecessarily) accompanies things period wise.

And, it would also put an end to the idiotic assumption that menstruation requires a doctor’s permission slip because it’s a medical issue.

A medical issue?  Um…the last time I checked the definition of “medical” it said the word related to the treatment of illness and/or injury.

Menstruation is NEITHER.

So what does confident carry look like?

You tell me.

When you confidently carry menstrual products, what do you carry and how?

If you’ve never confidently carried menstrual products openly in public, what do you think it would look like?  And, how would you confident carry?

Who me? Confident carry?

YES! You!

Confident Carry day TODAY is an opportunity for all to embrace menstruation as normal and natural – NOT something to hide or be ashamed of.  It’s an opportunity to raise awareness to the plight of girls and women all over the world who are shamed into secrecy about all things period wise.

Who would benefit from seeing you confidently and openly carrying feminine hygiene products? Your daughter?  Granddaughter? Your mother? A niece? Your BFF? A student? A girl new to menstruation? A woman with years of experience?  Your partner?

Who could you / would you impact by participating in Confident Carry Day?

At the very least, Confident Carry Day (if you choose to participate) will impact YOU.)

Before you say, “This is not for me because I…” let me say this: male or female, not currently menstruating / never have / or never will again – all are role models for the girl or the boy in your life.

Yes.  Confident Carry is not just about girls and women.  It’s about men and boys, too.

#ConfidentCarry on #May9 is for all.

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Guestpost from Suzan from Period Wise: Empowering girls and women to embrace a too long taboo topic – menstruation.

Currently my work as a menstrual activist and educator includes many roles: mentor, friend, writer, speaker, teacher, and perpetual student.  I also serve as the Director of Connectivity for You ARE Loved (a non-profit that raises awareness about TSS) and as the Manager of North American Operations for Lunette (makers of an amazing reusable menstrual cup).

 

Women are Humans Too.

A couple of days ago I got this tremendous boost. The community I hang out in of world-changing, paradigm-shifting women was gathered for a teleconference. Day in day out I see women doing inspiring, world-changing personal work, creating health-making businesses… and I feel full. Excited. We are on the brink. We are doing it. Women are helping to shift this world with more power and energy than any time in the past few thousand years. I can almost FEEL a tangible shift in being – for us as individuals, for our daughters, sons, communities…

And then I hear news like that of the hundreds of missing school girls in Nigeria. And I feel despair, dark, sad, sickness. That anyone, whatever their moral compass can believe that they have the right to steal hundreds of human beings, and decide their fates for them forcibly.

The leader boasted that all girls should be wives at 12… or even 6. SIX!  I have a 6 year old girl. How depraved must any man be to want a child of that age to wait on their every need… including sexual… is beyond belief.

That there are still, not just one or two, but thousands, hundreds of thousands of men (and perhaps women) in this world who still believe that the only purpose of another human being is to serve their domestic and sexual needs, without question, as their entire reason for being. And that for any fault in this service, the “contract” can be extinguished through death or permanent disability….

I find it extraordinary that STILL we need to reiterate the basic fact: women are humans too.

And then I think back… that in another life time this could have been me. I think how 25 years ago I would still have been excluded from some Oxbridge colleges. Less than 100 years ago my education would have been curtailed and I would have been married by 18. To have unknown numbers of children, and my fate tied to that of my husband. 150 years ago I would have been refused education all together and would have had my husband decided for me.

I know that many men in the West are a bit like, pipe down now, you’ve got everything you wanted. And more. Look schools are more focused on girl-friendly methods, you get loads of paid maternity leave. Shut up already.

But whilst there are still women in the world whose lives are in danger, are tradeable, are not their own, simply by virtue of having been born with a vagina, then I will continue to shout:

Women are humans too.

These girls are our daughters. Our sisters. Ourselves.

Whatever your religion. Whatever your nationality.

Women are humans too.

The news coverage of this horrific kidnapping of high school students in Nigeria has been shoddy at best. If you don't yet, you need to know the story. And then you need to share it. #bringbackourgirls

 

Shall I Drive You to the Red Tent? – Guest Post

I am honored to be joining DeAnna L’am and 29 other leaders in the field of menstrual education and women’s wisdom in the month of February for a free online red tent gathering. There are so many of my own real life heroines taking part I can hardly believe I am standing shoulder to shoulder with them. 

Today’s guest post from DeAnna explores a really important aspect of red tents, and one that has stalled me in my tracks in establishing one… HOW to make one and make it sustainable? There is so much emphasis on making a pretty space that we can get distracted from the main purpose – just making a space to nurture ourselves and the women in our lives.


How would the world be different if girls growing up today had a Red Tent to go to, in their own neighborhood?
Many of us would love to see a Red Tent where our daughters, stepdaughters, granddaughters, nieces, cousins, or any cherished girl in our life — could regularly find a haven.“Yes, but who would hold such Red Tents for them?” you may ask… and the inevitable answer is: YOU!

Imagine your girl coming home from school. She feels tired. She is actually crabby, and the sullen look on her face warns you to keep your distance. Throwing her backpack on the floor she runs into her room, not interested in answering any of your questions about her day. Her shoes fly off her feet, one at a time, on her way up the stairs, and land randomly on the floor. Her door is slammed shut, and you are not welcomed inside. You want to ask her about her feelings, to understand what is going on, but the door’s message is clear, and you know it will not open for a while…

Imagine, though, that you had a magical key to this closed door… Imagine softly knocking and whispering to your girl: “Shall I drive you to the Red Tent?” Imagine her door flying open, her eyes meeting yours, a sigh of relief rushing out of her mouth: “Oh, thank goodness! I’ve just got my period!” Imaging the two of you getting in the car, since it feels too cold to walk the otherwise pleasant road to the nearby woods. You likely wouldn’t talk much during the short drive, since your girl clearly wants to be quiet. She curls up on the passenger seat and closes her eyes. You arrive at your destination in no time.

The red flaps of the Tent are hanging down to keep the warmth in, and you lift them to allow your girl to walk in first. It feels like walking into a different world. It is blissfully quiet. You start lighting a few candles while your girl walks up to the pile of red blankets and grabs three of them. She sinks onto a mattress in the corner, and huddles under the blankets, letting all the air out of her lungs. She knows you are busy making her a cup of herbal tea. This is a familiar routine… You’ve been here many times before, and the roles have changed back and forth between you: barely two weeks ago it was you who flopped gratefully on a mat and curled into a ball under a pile of red blankets, while your 13-year-old was skillfully brewing a cup of Raspberry Leaf tea to soothe your womb and soul.

This is an easy reality to imagine… And, as surprisingly as it may seem to you, it is also an easy one to live! This can become a reality for you, and for your daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, or a cherished girl in your life, since it is up to You, up to Each Of Us, to make it so! A Red Tent in your neighborhood is only as distant as the limitation your mind puts on it. It is as close as your belief in its possibility!

We can make this a reality in our life time! You can create a Red Tent in your living room, in your back yard, in a friend’s home, in a nearby forest, meadow or beach. It can be made of anything: you can pitch a camping tent, or raise a tipi. You can drape Red cloths from tree branches, or build a yurt. The outer structure is not nearly as important as the space it holds inside — a space in which permission is given to simply BE…

Nothing is more essential than this: we need spaces where we can BE when we flow, either alone or in the company of other women. Anything beyond this is luxury (and we can create luxury, of course we can!) but lets not make luxury become the reason for not having a Red Tent right now. Lets remember the bare necessities: Space and Permission. And these, my sister, you can provide for yourself, for your girl, for your community – right now!

© by DeAnna L’am, All Rights ReservedJoin me to get inspired by the Red Tents In Every Neighborhood World Summit
A Free Online Event featuring women leaders from:

USA, Spain, Germany, U.K, Italy, Ireland (that’s me!), New Zealand, Australia, and Israel

Airing February 1-28


Email signature_html_m4c93903d
DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™, and of Red Tents In Every Neighborhood Global Network! A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming women’s and girls’ lives around the world for over 20 years. She teaches women how to love themselves unconditionally; how to dissolve PMS symptoms and draw spiritual strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); and how to hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

Must Read Woman-Craft Books of 2013

I regularly get emails from women asking for book recommendations. So here, hopefully just in time for last minute Christmas pressies, are my pick of the best women’s books that I have read this year.

Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control

This is a superbly researched and written examination of the Pill, how it is marketed, why we swallow it and what it does to us.

“The pill is intrinsic to Western, patriarchal, capitalist culture as it is to the lives of many millions of women.” This line shook me hard. It was a terrifying truth, but one that I had never considered before. In order to be the stable, efficient, fully productive economic units of society that our culture requires, women need to take the Pill!

Over the course of the book she unpacks this statement. Women who take the Pill tend to feel numb and have less emotional response to their surroundings, both ups and downs. So women who are less passionate in all senses. Less angry, less outraged, less excited about whom they love, and have a lower libido. Women walk around who cannot get pregnant, who can have sex whenever, wherever without thought or repercussions – the stereotypical male fantasy of a living sex doll.

And women pay for this dubious privilege, both through their prescriptions, (which whilst free in the UK, it is paid for elsewhere.) but also with their health. Healthy women take a powerful medication daily for years, and often decades. A medication which UN polls has shown would be unpalatable for men to take. And it is a medication which promises so much – not just freedom from the constant fear of pregnancy, but also clear skin, bigger boobs, no PMT, lighter bleeding, less cramps, and with some, weight loss… There are few young women who wouldn’t want all that it promises: the ability to transform from a flawed human woman into superwoman.

For me this and The Pill: Are you sure it’s for you? by Alexandra Pope should be required reading of all girls on their 16th birthday.

a body Body of Wisdom – I just took delivery of this last night and I have read the first few pages and WOW! it is the the book of women’s wisdom I have been yearning for every moon time… I am SO excited about reading it. It explores nine hidden spiritual powers within women’s bodies which have been overlooked by patriarchal spiritual systems. Let me share a quote with you… “The powers described in this book are natural to women. They are integrated into our bodies and energy systems, and coordinated with our hearts and minds both…They are not how most women actually live, as most of us have curtailed what is natural in order to survive or thrive in a patriarchal society. But because they are natural they are always with us, like an invitation that is never withdrawn.”

Alchemy for Women: Personal Transformation Through Dreams and the Female Cycle has been my book of the year. I have learned so much about how not only my, but also my partner’s dreams are affected by my cycle… as well as so many other blood mysteries which no one speaks of. This is a follow-on title from the same authors as the classic book The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman – and thought it is much smaller, but equally as valuable, it never really established the same reputation. It is a funny mix of the scientific and esoteric written in quite a bitty way – almost like a notebook of discoveries many of which have yet to be fleshed out. It is influencing my ideas for my next book and comes highly recommended.

978-1468056716-frontcover

And of course if you’re wanting to learn more about your cycles may I point you in the direction of my on book on the subject – Moon Time: A Guide to Celebrating your Menstrual Cycle – which hundreds of women around the world have described as life changing.

 

I also gained a number of really interesting insights from Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body (don’t you just LOVE the cover!) I found the exercises in it a little repetitive (I have a short attention span!) and it’s a long book – but if you’re looking for a book to help you get in touch with your female body and especially the pelvic bowl, Tami Lynn Kent is a loving insightful guide.

 

 

My Mother, Myself is a classic, written in the 70s, before it was even acknowledged how much power on a girl’s psyche her mother has. It is a book that I have bought for myself three times, but never gotten past the second chapter. The same happened again… so I skipped a few and got great insight from it. In truth I’m not mad about her writing style, and it feels a little dated as she is talking about the previous generation of mothers and daughters. But ouch her insights cut like a knife. She says what is now a classic took a while before really taking off, as women admitted to throwing it across the room or hiding it in cupboards before taking it out and finishing it, then recommending it to their friends, or buying a copy for their mother. So I guess I’m not alone!

a secret

I have just ordered her other classic My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies which arrived last night and is an eye-opener – it both documents hundreds of women’s sexual fantasies as well as reflecting on the how and why of female sexual fantasy in our patriarchal culture!

a cunt

Whilst we’re on the topic, lets talk Cunt: A Declaration of Independence which I discovered when I was invited to a Facebook group of the same name – well actually it’s called “That book with a daisy on it” because Facebook don’t allow the word cunt in a positive context. Only for misogynists. Anyway. It is a feisty book which explores women, their bodies, their sexuality and independence with sassyness, verve and packs a punch.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. For god here read whatever you see god as… but the title would have put me off buying it myself. Don’t let it! It is basically all about mindfulness and eating, written with great compassion and humor.

a dance

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine is another book I avoided for years because of the title – not being into either the Christian tradition or the Sacred Feminine. Really it is a powerful book about a woman’s journey into herself, breaking away from what she should believe and feel and discovering her own truth. It has become one of my all time favourite books, which I know I shall come back to again and again.

art birthThe Art of Birth: Empower Yourself for Conception, Pregnancy and Birth  offers a radical new approach to conception, pregnancy and birth using expressive art for self-development. It is a beautifully illustrated book which will also inspire women who are yearning to express their sense of being a woman through art. Packed full of art exercises, relaxation, positive affirmations, inner work, emotional support and pleasure, where the dream of a natural, empowered journey to motherhood and a positive birth experience can become a new reality.

Leonie Dawson‘s 2014 Create Your Amazing Year in Life and Business Workbook has changed how I live my life and do business over the past three years that I have used it! It is powerful transformational life and business stuff carefully presented in a non-threatening, feminine way with girly pictures and gorgeous colours which make me feel so happy and safe whilst I’m doing the big work inside!

I get the wonderful printable PDF version free on her Life and Business Academy (you can buy the Life and Business versions individually for $9.95 here which is what I did last year). BUT I wanted a lovely bound copy to hold in my hands. And this year for the first year you can buy a printed copy of both versions together from Amazon. I ripped mine open last night and started the life planner the moment the kids were asleep… and then first thing at work this morning I did some of the business part. I LOVE this book. I’ve spent the morning taking stock of the mammoth year of dreams that has been 2013 and looking forward to an even more glorious year next year – oh the things I have in store already!!

Obviously The Rainbow Way has been the book I have spent most time with in every way this year. I turn to it myself when I am feeling creatively overwhelmed, burned out or in need of reassurance. There is a lot of woman craft in it – a focus on the womb and its connection to women’s creativity, our menstrual cycle and how it affects creativity, lots about women’s circles in supporting creativity and lots of self care guidance. (I am so honored that Leonie named it one of her top 20 books for 2013!) I was SO excited to see that it is number 10 on Amazon.co.uk’s most wished for book in the Motherhood genre at the time of writing!

For girls

Blueberry Girl A dear friend gave this very special book to Ash for her third birthday and it is SO beautifully written and illustrated. It is a lovely non- religious blessing of power and strength for a girl. Watch the beautiful animated reading of the book here.

Reaching for the Moon was my first book release of the year, and is, of my three self-published books, the quickest seller. It seems to really resonate with mothers and daughters and is spreading like wild fire. My 5 1/2 year old begged to be able to read one of my books, brandishing this one in her little hands, knowing that it was for girls, but I have put her off for a couple more years! I was so honored to hear that it is being taught in a local school and have been invited in to talk to the girls on the topic.

And in brief, other exciting looking new releases still on my Kindle which I have only had a chance to read a few pages of, but have enjoyed thus far include:

Conversations with EVE: Women’s TRUE power – where it came from, how we lost it, how we can get it back!

Conversations with EVE (Every Vagina on Earth) is an eye-opening, inspiring, and motivating book. It shares a fascinating account of how the “Myth of Male Superiority” took away EVE’s rights and freedoms.

Menopause: a Natural and Spiritual Journey

This book is personal journey into the time of menopause looking at it from a spiritual point of view first and how spirituality can help with physical, mental and emotional symptoms. It seeks to show it as a natural part of life.

Ripening Time: Inside Stories for Aging with Grace

Sherry Ruth Anderson, the bestselling author of The Feminine Face of God presents a new perspective on aging. She guides us beyond our culture’s mind traps and shows how growing into old age can be a fruition, the genuine grace and gift of human ripening.

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality dismantles the notion of what it means to be a “good mother.” This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don’t tend to see in the headlines or on the news.

Spiritual Pregnancy: Nine Months of Spiritual Transformation Before You Give Birth (out Jan 2014) is a really tender, insightful book about pregnancy especially the spiritual aspects, and is written by a husband and wife team of doctors!

What have you read and loved this year?

Let Your Daughter Find Her Song: Guest Post DeAnna L’Am

Art by Lucy Pearce, cards and prints available from Fine Art America and Slippery Jacks.

Art by Lucy Pearce, cards and prints available from Fine Art America and Slippery Jacks.

 

Sing daughter sing
Make a song
And sing
Beat out your own rhythms
The rhythms of your life
But make the song soulful
And make life
Sing

~ Micere Mugo
Zimbabwe, 1970’s
(From: “I’m on my way running”, editors: Lynn Reese, Sean Wilkinson, Phyllis Koppelman. Avon books, 1975)

Isn’t this the wish of every mother – for her daughter to find her own song, beat her own rhythms, make a soulful song of her life, and sing it?

Most would answer with a resounding Yes! But applying this may be easier said than done…

To begin with, there is nothing to apply here!

For our daughters to find their own rhythms we need to get out of the way, rather than teach, dispense, administer, or reinforce…

The only thing required of us is to model singing our own song, beating our own rhythms, making a soulful song of our life, and singing our hearts out!

Our daughters (and our sons for that matter) learn first by imitation. The early childhood mode of operation is copying… We never “teach” our child how to walk, nor do we explain the concept of “one foot in front of the other”. Instead we simply walk… letting our children try, time and again, to do that which they see us do. Through trial and error, falling and getting up, they ultimately learn how to walk by themselves.

Similarly they watch us eat, get dressed, play ball… We model everything we want them to do. Why is it we stop modeling (and start talking) when it comes to Being?

As parents we have a huge investment in how our children turn out to be.

We don’t give much thought to how they walk, as long as they walk, yet we give a lot of thought to who we wish them to become.

Do you wish your daughter to become like you?
Take a moment to ponder this question…

It is likely that you’d answer Yes to some aspects, and No to others. Perhaps you would like her to be as dedicated as you are to your vocation, but not as procrastinating…. Maybe you wish her to be as loyal as you are, but not dislike her body as much… whatever it is, take a brave look at the aspects you wish her to be inspired by, and those you wish she wouldn’t even see… Take a break from reading this article, and write each of these lists in a separate column on a piece of paper.

Now, look at your two lists, and consider this: which behaviors do I model out of each list?

You may find that the things you like about yourself, and wish your girl to be inspired by, are the things you never “preach” nor spend any time “teaching,” but rather lead by example, without giving it much thought.
On the other hand, it is likely that you spend time thinking about (and talking to your girl at length about) the aspects you wish her to be different from how you currently are…

You already know how to model behaviors about which you have no “chip on your shoulder.” It’s time to implement this across the board!

Look at the list of things you dislike about yourself (or wish your girl would not follow) and make a plan (starting with the 1st item on the list) of transforming your Self…

This has nothing to do with your daughter!
It has everything to do with your own growth, and your own metamorphoses:
from low to high self esteem, from disliking your body to loving it unconditionally, from hating your period to finding solace and insights during “that time of the month”, or from whatever condition you are dissatisfied with, to one you embrace and grow from.

For now, make a commitment to stop talking with your daughter about any of these ideals you haven’t yet achieved in yourself. Instead, cultivate your own songs, and start singing them… discover the rhythms that make you dance, and start dancing.

Seeing you do this, over time, is the best inspiration a girl can have to finding her own song!

***

DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.

DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle; Instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, supports parents in guiding their boys and girls through important rites of passagetrains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com.

(NB These are affiliate links.)

Guest Post: 19 Things I Wish I Had Known at 19.

Looking back ten years gives you an insane amount of perspective into your own life, so I wanted to share some of these wisdoms of life that I have garnered since my 19th year and wish I had been aware of back then. Though to be honest I do wonder if I would had taken my own advice ….. being a stubborn little Leo I may have just wanted to find out for myself!
1. You are already AMAZING! Even if you don’t know it yet, just trust me when I say that you are already the most awesome 19 year old you could possibly be. Don’t be anyone different than who you are. You are unique and special and talented and fascinating and one day you will look back and see just how much you rocked! Never listen to other’s criticisms and trust yourself even when you’re out on a ledge trying something new.
2. Develop your own style rather than copying others. Figure out what looks you love to rock regardless of what everyone else is wearing. This will change over time anyway so it doesn’t matter. Be playful and have fun with it. You might just start a trend!
3. There’s plenty of time for everything. I know life seems so exciting and pertinent right now but don’t rush it. Everything always happens at exactly the right time. Enjoy everything for what it is no matter how incomplete or weird or crazy it may seem right now. You will look back at the experience with a whole new sense of understanding one day.
4. Don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously. No one really knows what’s going on any better than you do. Life is a fun game in which you can make and break the rules and everyone is just figuring it out as they go along. Remember that just because something is right for one person doesn’t mean that it is right for you too. Check in with yourself from time to time to make sure you’re following your own heart.
5. It’s super okay to make mistakes. In fact it’s better to make lots of mistakes now and learn and grow from them than not to and to stagnate and build up fears and barriers because you are afraid to take a wrong step. Make mistakes and move on. Don’t let the fear catch up with you, just keep moving forward. Eventually you will realise that the mistake you made wasn’t such a big deal after all. Be fearless. Take risks.
6. There’s plenty of boys in the world to play with so don’t rush into things with anyone unless you feel that they are the sweetest, cutest boy you could be with right now. Boys will come and go throughout your life, so there is no need hold on to every single whisper du l’amore that passes a guy’s lips. There’s plenty more where that came from. And when it’s honest and sincere you will feel it. The one for you will come. In the meantime, enjoy, play and have fun.
7. Actions speak louder than words. Always judge a person by what the DO and not by what they SAY. Words may drip sweetly like honey but if they are not followed up through action they are meaningless and can lead to disappointment and heartache.
8. Keep the promises you make to yourself. This is an excellent way to develop your trust and self-respect. If you can’t keep the commitments you make for yourself, how can you expect others to do it for you? We all lead by example and teach people how we want to be treated by how we treat ourselves.
9. Hone and listen to your intuition. If something just doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. Even if you can’t explain it. This has been proven true for me countless number of times, if you don’t listen you pay with a lesson that could have been avoided.
10. Have fun! As much as you possibly can! You will never be 19 again and with time your preferences and interests will change as you evolve and you may never get a chance to experience these things that you are currently doing again. Life is for living so get out there and create some memorable experiences. Preferably ones that you can entertain your children and grandchildren with at bedtime as they stare at you with wide-eyed wonder!
11. Don’t think that you’ve got to have it all figured out yet. Because you don’t. We all develop in our own time and have to follow our own unique path. Just like in The Sunscreen Song (below) “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”
12. Be what you seek. Everything you experience in your life is a reflection of yourself. I know this is a big concept to grasp but it works like this. If you want something be it. Do it. Say it. You want others to say you are beautiful then tell yourself that you are beautiful, treat yourself as if you are beautiful and the compliments will start pouring in. You want to be the best at something then start acting like you are. How would you be different right now if you were the best at what you do?
13. Others can only love you as much as you love yourself. You set the bar. So start loving yourself RIGHT NOW!!
14.  Dream big. Be wild. Be free. Be you.
15. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are good enough to achieve, do and be anything you dream of. The sky is the limit and as buddha says “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now”.  It will pay off one day in the future.
16. Be experimental. Try new things. Everyone’s experience is different and can be greatly skewed by their own biases. The amount of times that people have warned me not to try certain things and I have done so anyway and come out with an experience completely different from theirs and deeply gratifying is mystifying! If there is something you want to do, then do it and remember that other people aren’t always right.
17. Be smart. Keep your wits about you. Stay sharp and clear.
18. Practise really does make perfect. It’s in the showing up and doing those things again and again and again that the magic happens. Develop your strengths and one day you will be the one everyone is looking at and wondering how you made it to the top. Superstars aren’t born overnight, they grow from the bottom up just like everyone else.
19. You are loved. You are safe. You are taken care of. Even in your darkest and loneliest moments you are never alone. Remember that always!
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photoVienda Maria, BA Psych.
Director: viendamaria.com; Co-founder: marketingminxes.com.
Vienda is a lifestyle coach who guides women through making the switch from standard 9 to 5 living, to a wildly successful and free nomadic lifestyle. She is also a marketing consultant for indie entrepreneurs, boutique businesses and creative professionals who want to take their brand, marketing strategy and social media to a new high.
Vienda holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology and her training includes Level 1 Reiki, Diploma in Coaching and Counseling, and completion of several business and marketing courses.
 Her published works include co-authoring Love & Oneness from the Adventures in Manifesting series, and the digital guide Build Your Own Business Blog.
Vienda works with clients internationally and can most often be found on the coasts of California, Australia or in the UK.