Rilke says in Letters to a Young Poet, “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?” Not only do I continue to ask myself that question when it comes to writing, but I also find myself asking, "must I do the best I can to leave the world a better place for the generations to come?" The answer is always a resounding yes. Primarily when it comes to being a good role model for young women. That's something that's always stuck with me.
In my junior year of high school, I participated in a program called Sister to Sister, where we were paired with young women from 7th and 8th grade, and mentored them over the course of two days. We spoke with them about their education, what to expect in their freshman year, and answered any and every question they had ranging from using a pad or tampon to which clubs to join. It was a deeply profound experience that has stuck with me over the (I won't even say how many) years. Contributing my time to helping young girls feel confident in the next phase of their lives is a feeling I haven't been able to let go of. Primarily because my own junior high experience was pretty damn awful, and I so wish I had an older sibling or mentor to help me find my way through it.
Since the election - well, for that matter, since everything leading up to the election last year, my urge to work with young women has grown more and more everyday. In the evenings, I scroll through my list on Netflix and see films like Audrie and Daisy, The Hunting Ground, and Hot Girls Wanted flash across the screen. I read articles like It's no accident that we hear so little about missing black girls in this country and Hundreds of Marines Investigated for Sharing Photos of Naked Colleagues, and my heart breaks. Then there's this photo of a group of men deciding my health care coverage. And it haunts me. Seriously. I keep telling myself that I need to be doing more. Even though the Women's March in January was all sorts of amazing, there's still so much work we need to do - like so much.
Speaking of work (awesome segue!), the reason I'm sharing all this with you, is because I have a rather exciting announcement regarding my career. In April - yeah, in like a week and a half, I will be starting a new job at a company dedicated to the empowerment of young women. This means, I will be leaving my current position at the independent film and theater organization (you know the one), which I've been at for a little over three years. This transition is definitely bittersweet, but I am just so insanely stoked to get started working for the betterment of adolescent girls that that's really all I can focus on at any given moment. I keep going back to all the memories I shared with Sister to Sister, and know that experience never left me for a reason. I'm following my true calling, my passion if you will, and this next step is just the beginning of the work I'll continue to do in this field. I've said "yes" to this next chapter of my life and can't wait to show you all that it entails.