There are three ways to move me. You can touch my heart, you can touch my soul, or you can touch my life. I have learned that in order to thrive, I must have frequent moments and experiences that move me.
I know you have touched my heart when I feel it in my chest. I know you have touched my soul when I feel it in my goosebumps and down my spine. I know you have touched my life when I am moved to tears.
So, I have a job during which my heart is touched daily and my soul is touched at least once a week. This is clearly why I have the best job ever.
But it is only once in a great while that something or someone touches my life.
On May 14, 2016, I had the pleasure of accompanying my Girls on the Run team to the season-end 5K event.
This moment–this one right here–is when the entire season hit me.
It was at this moment that I felt the experience of coaching Girls on the Run touch my life. I knew the past twelve weeks with these girls had been powerful, but it was at this moment, when I saw them happy, healthy, confident, and excited to run, that I was flooded with just how much the experience of coaching these girls touched my life. I was moved to tears.
I hope it touched their lives as well. Usually, a childhood memory that touches your life stays with you forever.
You see, right now these girls believe they are spectacular. Each one of them believes they are uniquely, beautifully, and perfectly made. I want them desperately to remember this moment. Every one of the Girls is kind and loving to one another. They are genuinely, sincerely friends.
I need them to remember this experience because in a matter of days or months or years, they won’t always love themselves. I am not sure when the self-judgement and self-hatred infiltrates the bright shining confidence of a young girl’s psyche and I am sure it doesn’t happen to every girl, but for most girls it will come. In Girls on the Run, we call it “the dark cloud covering your shining star.”
I don’t know about you, but I spent way too much of my childhood, teen years, and twenties hating myself. Maybe if I had had an experience like Girls on the Run before the dark clouds rolled over me, maybe then things would have been different.
Or maybe not. Maybe nothing can take away the angst of the transition from girl to woman.
Maybe it is a part of life. I am not naive enough to think that three months of an after school club could prevent it entirely.
But maybe, when the mean little voice in her head tries to convince her that she is fat, or stupid, or ugly–maybe, just maybe–she will remember what she believed when she was ten years old and her star was still shining bright:
She is strong.
She is beautiful.
She is kind.
She is brave.
She is powerful.