I don’t often feel compelled to answer or respond to a request for my “wisdom” or more truthfully to be asked to share about my journey. I do believe that the next generations hold the power to truly change and just need to believe it. The women of my age group (65) worked hard and important progress was made but we still (in the US) are sending false messages to our little girls and young women.
What are the lessons you've learned that empowered you to love yourself?
I am strong. I was taught to be hardest on myself and I learned to be gentler and more loving to myself. I stopped and looked in the mirror and said hello to that beautiful strong capable generous woman. I embraced my failures, my sadness and my happiness and worked to reject the labels and baggage from outside. I learned to see me and to demand that others see me. I do not strive to be like anyone else, I work daily to be me, to be present, proud and available. My mother told me, “You can be anything you want to be, just don’t draw attention to yourself”. That messed with me for years until I realized it was an impossible message I needed to leave behind. I do want to draw attention to me, I am spectacular at times.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You do not have to be like, look like, feel like or act like anyone else’s expectations for you. What you hold to be true is your truth. Hold your head up, ask for what you need/want, take it. Be kind to yourself, and from there spread that kindness to others. Laugh a lot. Experiment a lot. Be fearless.
If today was your last day, what is that one thing you would want every woman to know and understand?
We are beautiful. We are strong. We are powerful. Any message that says you are less than is crap. Reject it and keep going. You got this!
With my very best wishes. Barbara Frank