Image by Caleigh, 2Me@12 contributor and Graphic Design student
My husband’s buddy called me out during cocktail hour at a Bar Mitzvah party last week. “How come Red stopped saying what?” I took a swig of my cider, stuttered, stammered, then made an excuse. “Um, life got in the way?”
The “life” explanation is only half the truth. For several months, anytime I felt fired up or had something to say, I never bothered to write the words. With so much noise and so many voices, good, bad and ugly crowding the field, with so many articles, podcasts and videos more relevant and credible than my privileged, princess point of view, I decided it might be best if I listened more and put out less.
I mean, who am I to post a blurb on parenting when children separated from parents are suffering? Why read my take on education when our kids and teachers go to school wondering if a crazed shooter will show up in their classroom next? And why type up notes about my experience with MeToo, when it’s more impactful to hear from Olympic gymnasts and countless other men and women survivors who continue to step forward?
So I put my blog on mute. Red went ghost.
But I haven’t completely disappeared. Bit by bit, I’ve been working on a project. One that lifts up the voices of those who inspire me, who give me hope and who I think young people may want to hear more from: teenagers. Teen girls specifically. Ones who have found their power. Girls who have the confidence, wisdom and perspective I didn’t have the guts to go after until I was middle-aged.
For two years, I’ve been gathering experiences from teen girls who found power through sport, namely CrossFit with some tennis and swim sprinkled in. These teens have stories they wanted to share and advice they wanted to give to their younger peers about how empowerment has changed their lives and views about health, beauty, community, attitude, and ups and downs.
Who better to offer guidance to young girls than their older selves? With that, I named the project 2Me@12.
2Me@12 began with four teenagers who started working out at my gym when they were 14 years old and has grown to include dozens of young ladies between the ages of 14-18 from around the United States and on either coast of Canada.
There’s Sophia from Washington who chose health over looks.
Bridget, from New York who learned to laugh more and worry less about other’s perceptions and what she thought she saw in the mirror.
Julia, also from New York who the gained courage to step out of her small town bubble and Jocelyn from Arizona who, thanks to a supportive community, found her voice to encourage others.
There’s Shelby, a Reebok CrossFit Games finalist from North Carolina whose change in attitude allowed her to go farther in life than she ever thought possible and Kelly from California who figured out how to tackle the curse of her bad attitude.
And Chloe, the “Fittest 14-15 Year Old on Earth” from Louisiana who learned success is not an end game but instead, finding something you love and enjoying the process as you grow.
Having the awesome responsibility and honor of lifting up the voices of young people, working with these girls and replaying their words in my head has helped me to be a more empathetic mom, appreciate those who show me love and support, run a little faster, push a little harder, get uncomfortable, not be so tough on myself and get to work so young girls and boys can also hear what they have to say.
Since sport and fitness aren’t the only paths to finding one’s power, this summer I hope to connect with teens who found their power through theater. And, at the request of my two sons, I intend to work with young men with lessons to share.
Once I determine the best way to get these teens’ full thoughts into the world, I hope you’ll let their experiences into your lives and into the lives of your children. And if you have a teen who has found power with advice to share, I’d love to help build that bridge.
Please visit 2Me@12 on Instagram.
“You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” – Glinda the Good Witch