This is for you (a poem I’m sharing with a school group this weekend)

This is for the ones who think they are too big, too small, too thick, too boney, too boyish, or too girly.

This is for the ones who think they are ugly.

The ones who think they should hide out.

And the ones who gets judged for it.

The ones who let their external appearance determine their internal feelings.

The ones with their fingers in their throats after every meal.

The ones who get kicked down by words.

The ones who will never try anything new.

Here’s a fun fact

Deep down, we all feel the same.

We find things that are wrong with us and we wish we were different.

We compare ourselves all day long—to those around us, to the models; the athletes and celebrities that flood magazine covers; to the friends who have it all; to the girl or guy who stole our crush.

Why is it so hard for us to “come home” to ourselves?

Why is it so hard for us to look in a mirror and declare out loud, “I AM BEAUTIFUL”?

We fill our days with cover-ups; with work-outs, and eye liner- expensive attempts to feel better about who we are.

We wear baggy clothes and padded bras, and we never feel comfortable in shorts or a bathing suit.

We feed ourselves lies: We aren’t worth it.

We aren’t pretty.

We aren’t desirable.

We deserve to be treated like dirt.

We aren’t good enough.

We never will be.

Well, the voices are wrong.

Because you have a story; and because you have a story, you have a voice- a voice that should speak up and be heard, because you matter and you never know to whose life you bring light.

You matter for a million reasons more than just merely to survive.

There is no one else in the universe that is YOU.

You are the only one.

So give yourself permission to love yourself; permission to accept yourself.

Be proud of who you are and own your imperfections—your crooked smile, your acne scars from primary school, your wild hair, your awkward personality and your inability to be as great as the people you compare yourself with.

Whatever it is, don’t let it make you feel embarrass or want to run away.

Take a moment and notice what you love about yourself cos you are more than just skin and bones.

Inside and out, it’s all you, and the rest of the world has no right to take it from you.

The greatest stories aren’t the ones told but the ones lived.

Keep living your story.

Wounded,

confused,

broken,

or forgotten as it may be.

It is who you are.

Step out of the lie that says,

You have to change who you are to be accepted.

You matter,

JUST AS YOU ARE!

You have power, and voice, and beauty, and questions.

Believe it or not, you are at the center of social change.

From Mark Zuckerburg who started Facebook at age 20, to Malala Yousafzai who won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 to Chad Le Clos who’s like a fish in water; to every dedicated activist in the struggle against human trafficking.

To the dreamers, believers, and creative thinkers, in this room.

Do not sell yourself short young man & young woman.

This world needs you.

All of you.

Give this world ALL you have, so that generations after you can have all they need.

This is for you.

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