This is something I wrote on my personal tumblr a few years ago, and I wanted to share it again in light of the tragedy in Manchester.

Dear Teenage Girls

I’m writing this because it feels like everyday I read something new about a young woman being victimized. I am not that much older then you, but it already feels like being a teenage girl is about 100 times harder. I can’t begin to imagine what many of you have gone through.

People are Hurting You Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually and Sexually

People are blaming you for things that are not your fault

People are calling you liars, and telling you that what you have to say isn’t important

People are still using your bodies, your gender identity, your sexual orientation, and your race to determine your worth.

Of course this kind of thing happened to us when I was a teenager, but everything feels more intense, more instant. It makes me sick. Whenever I read about another girl who was attacked, or killed or ignored or threatened, it makes me want to scream. I wondered why people targeted and trivialized you for so long, but I’ve just realized why.

It’s because you are amazing.

You are smart, talented, beautiful and powerful and that is terrifying to the people who want to keep you down because they know that if you are allowed to come into your own, to fully realize all that potential, you are an unstoppable force of nature.

So please, keeping being wonderful. Keep being brave, speaking out, acting out, creating, loving, thinking and most of all keep dreaming.

It’s not going to be easy. I know. There will be days when you can’t get out of bed, when you think that nothing’s worth it, when you decide it would be easier to keep your head down or lash out at others. But try to overcome that.

I love you

I believe you

I know you can do it.

And there are more people like me, who feel the same way and who will be there to help and support you every step of the way.

But in the end its up to you. You need to love and respect yourselves, love and respect each other and DEMAND love and respect from the rest of the world. It will be scary and hard but it will be worth it because when you succeed you won’t be sitting around in your twenties, with a broken heart for every girl who goes through everything you went through and more. You will be the reason that the next generation has it better, and it will be wonderful.

You’re already starting to do this, and I’m so proud of you. Keep going. You’ve been kept down long enough. It’s your time.

Love,
Lauren

Photo by Emily Jewer http://www.mjphotographics.com/
Photo by Emily Jewer http://www.mjphotographics.com/