Two words that have enabled hundreds upon hundreds of girls to re-claim their identities for themselves and boldly refute any assumptions or stereotypes others have imposed on them.
“Just Because I’ve had two miscarriages doesn’t mean I’m a slut…Means I’m not ready for motherhood.”
“Just Because I’ve used drugs, doesn’t mean I’m an addict, means I sometimes numb my pain…”
“Just Because I’m in a foster home, doesn’t mean I’m not worthy, means I get a new start…”
“Just Because I broke the law, doesn’t mean I’m bad, means I made a mistake, doesn’t mean you can judge me, because you don’t know me, and you don’t know what I’ve been through. Means I am becoming whole…”
These are excerpts from some of the poems that girls have written and shared in Girls Circle groups, and graciously shared with us. Artist and poet Esther Kamkar of Palo Alto, CA, shared the “Just Because” poem form with us, so that we could offer the poem as an exercise in our Girls Circle “Relationships with Peers” Facilitator Activity Guide.
Imagine, at 15 years of age, claiming your right to define your own identity according to your truth. This is an extraordinarily powerful exercise that inevitably brings tears to my eyes. These are the kinds of tears brought up by recognition of the burdens and injustices some girls have endured, and by the privilege of witnessing their tender capacity for healing, compassion, strength, and love.
Last night, Giovanna and I attended an event with Girls Inc. of Northern Sacramento Valley in which eight members of a high school Girls Circle group courageously read their poems to a crowded room full of adults. One girl ended her poem with this:
“Just Because I look together, like everything is okay, you don’t know what’s eating me up inside, how on some days I just want to die…but Just Because I have those dark days, doesn’t mean I don’t love you, Means I do love you, and I want to invite all of you to be my family, and I want to be a part of yours’, too.”
Just Because girls are young, doesn’t mean they can’t turn lives around, means they blow my mind.
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