That moment when you are 11 years old, and you look in the mirror before leaving the house for school. That moment when you decide that you are too ugly to go to school because that is what that boy has been telling you. That is how he has made you feel. And so you stay home and watch soap operas and tell your mother that your stomach hurts, because the truth is – it does. There is a knot there that can’t work itself out.
That moment when days go by, and your mother asks what’s really going on, and you wish you had the answer. You’ve been trying to figure it out as well. What is it about me? If I were prettier, if I didn’t wear glasses, if I wore nicer clothes, if my hair were straight, maybe he would leave me alone. Maybe then, the mirror would be kinder.
That moment when, years later, you realize that you never make eye contact with yourself when you look in a mirror, because when you were finally brave enough to look again, someone told you to stop looking at yourself so much. Someone thought that you were full of yourself, when you were actually full of shame. So now you look around yourself – because the memories are too painful.
That moment when you take all of that and pour it into something. Something that you hope will make a difference. Something that will help children see the beauty in themselves and others. Something that you can look in the eye and feel proud of. That moment when you realize that someone might need to read the words that you write or hear the words that you speak. Someone might need to know your story.
That moment when you tell a child YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and in doing so, realize that you are not alone.
That moment when you see yourself for the very first time.