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Good To be Different



There is so much on my heart, I’m not sure where to begin. You see, I have an idea called, Girl Rising. It's my hope to use opportunities provided to me as an independent author, educator, and public speaker to use narrative for the lifting and reclaiming of those set adrift by our challenging world. I have big plans for this little campaign, please allow me to share a few details.


With Girl Rising, each participant will learn how to evaluate her inner and exterior strengths while determining areas for individual growth. Within this safe environment, we will examine our core values, self-worth, and make a plan of action for a better tomorrow. By standing together as a family of women, we will create energy and a community with enhanced skills to face all manner of obstacles in our ever-changing lives.


Being different is hard to do, so how can we break from the pack? How do we become a Girl Rising?



I like to believe that our journey began the day we were born. As we move along we start to become unaware of how important we really are to ourselves and to those within our circle. Then there comes a time, a moment, maybe even a series of events where we begin to question who we are and where we’re going. We may even have this moment multiple times in our lives. That’s good because we’re growing. I know all too well how easy it is to think that we’ll never get it right, but I’ve come to believe that there is much more worth in the practice of perfection rather than achieving it.


Four years ago, I found myself in a place where I had to take a hard pause and evaluate these exact questions. It was time for me to make some serious changes, to quit allowing the world to blow me around like a leaf in the breeze, and to stop making excuses for what was poor behavior. I started thinking about when I’d flown on an airplane and the flight attendants who always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. I looked around and saw that the airplane of my life was plummeting toward a terrifying crash into rock bottom and it was now or never. In one of the scariest moments of my life, I pushed everything away, reached for a power greater than myself, and donned the oxygen mask that was offered.


Why was it so scary? I was afraid that once again I would fail. Fear screamed at me that I could not make it, that I wasn’t worth the effort, and that I might as well just accept living beneath my potential. Fortunate for me, I was surrounded by people who pushed me onward and lifted me with their kindness. With time and patience, life leveled out rather than incinerating around me. As I grew, I learned that there is a ritual list of things I needed to do in order to keep breathing the free air.


  1. Allow gratitude to guide me in cleaning up the mess I’d made.

  2. Find a willingness to make amends to those within my circle and do it.

  3. Get a purpose with a schedule and keep to it.

  4. Tell fear to sit down.

  5. Learn to value my effort over achievement because fixing it once wasn’t going to be enough.



Time was necessary as I pursued this course and my actions were not always received with immediate acceptance or success. Keeping at it was what I had to do. Slowly, progress came and today I’m still moving forward, knowing that there will be no finish line; this is a lifetime rerouting of my previous course.


Honesty with myself has become a staple. I’ve learned that in order to embrace my efforts of becoming a Girl Rising, I had to get to the root of my troubles. For starters, my self-esteem was all but obliterated. ‘Well, crap,’ is what I thought when my lack of self-esteem became apparent. I had to ask myself, ‘How in the world does a forty-something woman build self-esteem when it’s been relatively non-existent her whole life?’ I believe the maker of my universe stepped in and inserted sources and people at just the right moments to help me find answers to this important question.


As I observed the work, I witnessed some things and people slipping away from what had been my previous normal. Others stayed, but I came to know that with or without, I was going to be okay. This is where things got interesting. I began to feel like a budding flower reaching up through dark soil for sunlight. Three mantras crossed my path in this course of self-discovery and I started to remind myself of them often:


  • I am worthy of happiness and harmony in my life.

  • My voice matters in all things and situations, but a gentle voice it should be.

  • I am worthy of respect from those with whom I associate.

  • By giving a smile and respect first, I open myself to receive it in return.



How neat it is to see life blossom right before your eyes. Growing my self -esteem requires constant nurturing but the energy is well worth it. In breaking from the pack, I allowed myself the time and space to learn who I am today and who I want to continue trying to be in all my future tomorrows.


Sharing Girl Rising is a call to action, something I feel is the next step in my journey. I’m hopeful that as I continue to post blogs and prepare for more action in 2020, that you will join me in your own pursuit of self-discovery. Remember, age doesn’t matter because if we will it, the mind is forever young.



Be blessed in your journey,

JoAnna

-A Girl Rising Blog. Vol 1, No. 1


A Girl Rising Adventure, 2019.

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