Tag: Friends

Out With Caution And In With Compassion and Care

In a catch-up, warm-hearted conversation with two longstanding friends yesterday, my cup ran over with excitement as I told them about the launch of our Wait Awhile video, released yesterday.  The video has already, at least for me, infused new life into the initiative, which was only born in February.  So eager to nurture that life, I was poised for an insightful conversation.

And when the questions rolled in: what is it really about, why are you doing this, etc… I rose to the occasion with ease, focusing on the concerns about the narrowing gap between being a girl and being a woman and what UIO podcast is doing to support girls in reclaiming their teenage space.

And then I made an invalid point that has niggled me throughout the night, and has somehow found its way into this blog, offering an opportunity to not only set the record straight, but also to put my own mind at rest on the matter.

Anyhow, the comment went something like this: you have to be cautious about these things, how you make your points nowadays.  One of my friends hopped right on it and told me rightfully so that my caution didn’t make sense when it comes to our Wait Awhile initiative.  Why can’t you just make it clear that whatever it is you are talking about, whether that’s sex or cosmetic procedures, that it is premature. Mine, of course, is a paraphrase but makes the point.

How refreshing, I thought, and though not defensively but rather quickly pointed out that if I was doing an interview or writing a blog, I would and do cut right to the chase. But when dealing with a marketing tool, one has to open the door so to speak. 

In my mind’s eye. I wondered why I had said that when UIO podcast is built on straight talk, coming straight from the straight talk queen of the year. Me. Me.  Just ask my youngest niece, she’ll confirm.

Though it can be painful sometimes, I do work hard to tell it like it is, particularly if it is a serious matter where the health of teenage girls is at risk. And I have quickly learned that there is a difference between sugar coating and handling with care. I tend to think that UIO podcast, inclusive of Wait Awhile, handles these challenging issues with care.

Our new video is a perfect example of laying out the concerns and facts and looking at why Wait Awhile exists in the first place.  It is not as much about caution as it is care. 

In the meantime, my other friend followed up with the question of how do you engage young people on such tough subjects without turning them off?  For example, if having cosmetic procedures has become a norm, why would girls decide to wait awhile.

That’s when our podcast for teen girl’s slew of wonderful guests popped into my head. Often with honesty and openness and based on their own experiences and expertise, our guests are able to shed great light on dark topics and of course, there is our recent research study that states the facts, as well as many other research studies that are concerned with both the physical and mental health of teenagers, girls and boys alike.

Reflecting on my time with my two dear friends, I was reminded that our video, like our podcast, is a communications vehicle that raises concerns and cautions for us all in our ever changing world, and offers platforms for insight and debate on the topics, but the key has been and always will be addressing the points as openly and honestly as possible and remembering it is not so much about being cautious about what we say but saying the truth with deep compassion and care. See the video on our website  or via  YouTube here

 

Get The Inside Scoop

Nothing like getting inside information. And that is just what I did to produce UIO’s fifth podcast in this second series, which will be released next week. On Being A Teen Girl Now features 16-year-old Leah from Hertfordshire and 15-year-old Divaina from Kent.

Not only do we have a timely conversation about their greatest challenges and opportunities, it got me thinking about my teen years a bit more specifically. But before reminiscing, I can’t say enough about the potential of both Divaina and Leah, not only in the space they are each in but also looking to the future.

What I remember most about our interview together is their individual and collective fresh approach to life, their willingness to speak out, to correct something if it was wrong, such as the pronunciation of their names. Yep, I got both names wrong. Not to mention their consideration, concern and respect for each other and their peers, and the awareness and interest they both showed in the world around them.

Gosh, I thought, as my mind travelled back into time, was I that tuned in? What was happening in the world when I was a teenager? Have teen girls always faced as many pressures and have they always been expected, willing and able to express their trials and tribulations as I asked both girls to do. Could I have articulated my concerns so eloquently at such a young age?

While no clear-cut answers spring to mind on any of the questions, I have a good memory of the American Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. I was the ripe old age of fourteen. Two hundred years ago today was a theme that still lives in my head. Beyond that and who was President, I had to take a quick refresher to see what was happening on the world stage.

Closer to home, however, I do recall who my closest friends were, the importance I placed on friendships, as if the air I breathed depending on them, as well as the need to be perfect. Of course, the times are different and social media, for example, turns the heat right up on the importance of self-image, being a success and so on, but the concept of being on trend, being popular, and being smart seeped into my teenage brain all the same.

Also, there was the pink elephant in the room—racism. Though there was a collegial relationship between the races, we were certainly not a close-knit group or a group with desires to diversify. The first three years of our school life had been spent in desegregation, so here we were as teenagers, trying to make sense of the world together but on different sides of the aisle. One example of this is the fact that we had separate proms.

It was with this weight that I journeyed through my teen years, often times reasoning that the teen years didn’t matter, that they were more or less a dress rehearsal for the rest of life. Over my should now, I see how wrong I was. Hence my desire to support teen girls right where they are. Life is now. And the good news about today’s teen girls is their willingness to start where they are tackling issues like sexualisation, sexism, colourism and so on. And though it is a heavy load, it’s lightened in the power of togetherness.

Onwards and upwards for both our guests and all teen girls. Get the inside scoop on UIO: On Being A Teen Girl Now, out Wednesday, November 7th. Listen on iTunes, Soundcloud, TuneIn, Stitcher or subscribe to our RSS feed to have the podcast delivered to your device.

Is It Time To Redefine A Relationship?

We all need relationships, whether they are familiar or romantic. Without them, we feel unhappy and unhealthy. But even with them, specifically when they go wrong, we can feel deprived of a basic need, not to mention when a relationship breaks down altogether.

In my most recent Huff Post blog, I explore the question: Why Relationships Break Down, looking more at familiar relations. Of course, there are a number of reasons that parents and children stop speaking and so on. But could there be something at the crux of such fall outs, something as simple or as complicated as definition or lack thereof?

Read more in the Huffington Post.