This is an important video for anyone who either is a girl, knows a girl, or came out of a woman who once was a girl. Our words have power, we all know this. But we don’t often look at what’s coming our of our own mouths.
Years ago, I was in a grocery store with my wife, and I really wanted to find a box of Cream of Wheat–the old kind that I used to eat when I was eight. We had trouble finding it, so I asked a young man who worked there. He looked a little unsure, and finally said, “I don’t think we carry it.” I bellowed a joking “WRONG ANSWER!”–so pleased with myself, figuring I’d brought a little color into his dull life. But I was as loud as I was unconscious, so I don’t even remember what his response was. Later, Elena pulled me aside and replayed that moment for me. I came off harsh and cutting. What if he was brand new there? What if he didn’t really get the joke?
And I suddenly felt the power of my words.
So back to the video. As crucial as it is, our talk about girls is not where it ends, that’s where it begins. We need to up our game about how we talk, period. If I’m complaining all day about my day, how does that look to the universe that gifted me with these precious moments? I picture Her as an invisible presence, standing very near me, watching for my response to this miracle, the one in which I have a body that is fit and youthful, even at 59. And I have eyelids that function, bones that hold me upright, and my skin goes all the way around my body, no leaks. My children are truly fascinating, strong, creative, brilliant people in the world. I have wonderful friends, an intelligent, loving, articulate, present wife. And a roof overhead, and food! Food that I can taste! And the day is gorgeous, I can see it, feel it, smell it. Hear music. Remember my own name. On and on. But the only thing I have to say is “F&ck. How long does it take to turn left?! GO already!”
It’s never too late to wake up. No self-loathing quicksand necessary. If you have a bad dream that you’re running away from someone, once you’re awake you don’t keep running in your bed–you get it that it’s not happening anymore, you put your feet on the floor and begin the day.
So here’s to waking up…to really listening to what’s coming out of our mouths. And looking with a soft eye on those who don’t. The “Always #LikeAGirl” video opens the hearts of those who weren’t paying attention to their words. It doesn’t put them down. Would that political enemies, religious opponents, and contentious family members could do it this way.
I’m starting today. Wanna come with me?
May all sentient beings speak in peace.