This is an excerpt from Eve Ensler's new book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, and I'm pretty sure this message should be read by every girl and woman out there.
Good stuff. Do you know what your own needs are?!?
Dear Emotional Creature:
I believe in you. I believe in your authenticity, your uniqueness, your intensity, your wildness. I love the way you dye your hair purple, or hike up your short skirt, or blare your music while you lip-synch every single memorized lyric. I love your restlessness and your hunger. You possess the energy that, if unleashed, could transform, inspire and heal the world.
Everyone seems to have a certain way they want you to be - your mother, father, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, boyfriends, fashion gurus, celebrities, girlfriends. In reporting my new book, I learned a very disturbing statistic: 74 percent of young women say they are under pressure to please everyone.
I have done a lot of thinking about what it means to please; to be the wish or will of somebody other than yourself. To please the fashion setters, we starve ourselves. To please men, we push ourselves when we aren't ready. To please our parents, we become insane over-achievers. If you are trying to please, how do you take responsibility for your own needs? How do you even know what your own needs are? The act of pleasing makes everything murky. We lose track of ourselves. We stop uttering declaratory sentences. We stop directing our lives. We forget what we know.
I have had the good fortune to travel around the world. Everywhere I meet teenage girls and women giggling, laughing as they walk country roads or hang out on city streets. Electric girls. I see how their lives get hijacked, how their opinions and desires get denied and undone. So many of the women I have met are still struggling late into their lives to know their desires, to find their way.
Instead of trying to please, this is a challenge to provoke, to dare, to satisfy your own imagination and appetite. To take responsibility for who you are, to engage. Listen to the voice inside you that might want something different. It's a call to your original self, to move at your own speed, to walk with your step, to wear your color.
When I was your age, I didn't know how to live as an emotional creature. I felt like an alien. I still do a lot of the time. I am older now. I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be OK with being different, with being this alive, this intense. I just don't want you to have to wait that long.