I was mindlessly surfing Facebook last night (you know how it is, clicking on link after link until you are at a page looking at pictures of a newborn whose parents you think you probably went to elementary school with all the while hoping that a magic fairy has cleaned up the kitchen when you weren’t looking) and came across the page of an organization a girl I played rugby with in university had created. It was called Be The Change Project. Her and her husband are teaching and building schools in Tanzania. Their motto was to be the change they wanted to see in the world.
I remember hearing that quote, years ago and thinking, yes, oh yes! But then… nothing.
I’ve been thinking lately about what I want from my life. I’m no longer sure that it will come from an office. I’ve always wanted to “help” people, but that’s a worthless ambition unless something is actually done about it.
But what can I do? I can’t travel to Africa. I can’t go teach abroad. My husband works long hours and I don’t want to be away from my kids everyday.
A commenter mentioned a while ago about the organization Girls on the Run. And while it’s a fantastic looking organization, they only have one chapter in Canada (Toronto) and are not currently expanding further into the country at this time.
It stuck in my head though, the idea of helping young (8-12yo) girls. These girls are bombarded with over-sexed images and music constantly. How can they stand up against it when it’s all they’ve seen? Do they even know it’s wrong? How can their own self-esteem and sense of self-worth blossom under that pressure?
My own personal journey has led me up and down the same mountain. The cool girls teasing me about my glasses in junior high, being one of the only virgins in my group of friends in high school, being the girl no one asked out on dates, meaningless relationships that left me feeling cheap and empty in university. But through all of those things, I had a strong family. My mom has always been one of my best friends and closest confidantes. My dad has always been there, cheering me on. And no, my husband supports every thing I do, makes me stronger. And of course, the two little girls I take with me everywhere, always close, always reminding me of why I must stay strong and positive. Of why I must change the way girls see themselves.
Steve and I laid in bed talking last night, about what my next step should be. He suggested a coaching clinic, where I can learn to teach someone how to run. Then maybe flyers in the local community centres, to parents who want to help and for girls who want to run. Maybe one kilometre, once a week, maybe eventually organize a race, maybe grow from there. Maybe eventually guest speakers. The whole point of it being self-esteem and positive self change.
Today I emailed and called about coaching clinics, and am waiting to hear back. And then I printed off an application for for the Running Room to coach one of their clinics. Ideally, Learn to Run or Women’s Only (which is also a learn to run). I called and have a meeting with the manager Monday for the spot on a spring clinic.
It’s not yet clear to me where this will go, as few journeys end where you expect them to, but at least I’m moving. Because it’s up to me to be that change.