As I watch COVID rear its head, Afghanistan fall to the Taliban, and countless other enraging tragedies, it is hard to pick what to rant about. Haven’t we had enough? Hasn’t the past eighteen months been enough?
What do you say when words no longer seem to matter?
Months ago, I picked the above quote by Margaret Atwood to be both a rant and a reminder for International Day of the Girl Child today, October 11. I hoped we would be talking about how girls deal with real problems, real relationships, and real social issues that we cannot ignore. But this past eighteen months, I think we have all come to understand that everyone has those things, including little girls.
I don’t know when I first understood Atwood’s meaning. It was at some point in the last decade. Once I understood little girls, I could never look away again. In fact, I find myself often looking back at the little girl I once was and realizing that I had those issues, too.
In girlhood, the world was life sized. It was smaller than my world is now, but it was still life sized to me. The issues I dealt with – bullying, eating disorders, success, friendships, identity – are issues that I continue to confront. Some have been mostly resolved, while others linger on as the world continues to expand.
All this to say, there isn’t really anything to rant about that has not already been said. So rather, today is just a reminder that everyone – including little girls – is life-sized. We are dealing with larger-than-life-sized problems. So maybe, just maybe, this month isn’t about ranting and raving and politicking and picketing.
This month should be for taking a deep breath. The pause. The reminder that somehow, some way, it will be okay. Seasons change. Things die and are reborn. The world continues to turn.
It will be okay. We will get through this. We can effect change – by getting vaccinated, by volunteering to mentor a refugee family, by pushing legislators to fully address climate change and systemic inequality and stricter gun laws. We can be the change – by being empathetic, by reaching out a helping hand or a friendly smile, and by remembering that even the little girl you pass by has struggles that seem so life-sized they could be life-shattering.
Give her a smile. Remind her of beautiful things and times. Let her know she’s not alone.
Like you, like me, she just wants to know, she’s not alone.
Girl Museum Inc.