for Teenage Girls*
*"Girls" includes all gender-expansive youth such as trans girls, non-binary youth, gender non-conforming youth, and gender queer youth.
I believe in the clarifying power of writing. I believe that writing is our most powerful tool for personal growth. Most of all, I believe in the innate wisdom and genius of teenage girls.
In the words of e.e. cummings, “We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch." This is where I come in. This is my job, my purpose, my life's work, to help each girl see just how amazing she is. I am here to reflect back the unique beauty and power of each spectacular young woman, in all her words and thoughts and stories.
Writing support is a lot like life-coaching. It is both an internal and external process, initiated through conversation, deepened through writing, and clarified through strengths-based feedback and mirroring. As I often tell my teens, I am not here to tell them what to do. I'm here to support them in finding their own answers. I believe we are all the experts of our own heart and that my job is just to support each girl in re-connecting to what she already knows—her own intuitive wisdom—and then to help her stay connected, to develop the inner-authority and self-trust she'll need to grow and thrive for the rest of her life.
Writing is “the way in,” like the straw that draws up all the hidden tapioca balls from the bottom of your boba tea. As we translate our emotional experiences into words on a page, research shows that we physically shift from our reptilian brain to our pre-frontal cortex, the place from which we’re able to think holistically and creatively, to solve our own problems.
I love writing and have been writing in a journal every night of my life since I was ten. But when we don’t share our writing with others, we often get stuck. We get stuck because our inner critic (and everyone’s inner critic is very well developed nowadays!) often discounts or disregards the wisdom that comes out on the page. In other words, writing alone can keep us blindfolded. It is only when we share our writing with others, when a mentor or coach is able to hear the strength inside the writing and mirror back the brilliance of the writer, that the writer builds the confidence they need to keep going.
Self-trust is a relationship with one's self, a relationship that must be built over time. In the beginning—like the fuel required to launch a rocket—self-trust requires a lot of encouragement. But the more we learn to trust ourselves, the more we are able to trust ourselves. With teenage girls, the transformation can be astoundingly fast. Again and again, I have watched girls come to class looking discouraged and depressed, only to watch them roar back to life in the space of just two hours: first through the introspective process of writing and then through the empowering experience of positive mirroring, feeling validated and affirmed and knowing that who they are matters.
It has been my experience that teenage girls are the most intuitive, insightful, magical people on earth. With enough encouragement (encouragement is crucial!), I believe teenage girls are also our greatest communicators and most visionary thinkers. Teenage girls can always see the truth (and see through the b.s.) better than anyone else. I work as hard to earn their trust as I do to hold them in the light, to reflect back their own unique brilliance.
The other reason I am so passionate about empowering girls to find their voice is because I know how painful it is not to have one. The reason I love to support and en-courage writers is because I know how it feels to be unsupported and dis-couraged, because I have spent most of my life in fear, because I am a master of hiding and pretending and not speaking up. But it has been through the (long, circuitous, ongoing) process of healing my heart and reclaiming my value that I have learned what the heart needs to feel safe—and how to find light in the dark.
My Hope for Young Women
I hope you feel peace in your presence and joy in your being, that you know your innocence and your worth. I hope you feel free and strong and deeply alive. I hope you speak to yourself with compassion, honoring the strength and wisdom of your body, exactly as it is. I hope you create healthy, growing relationships where you are always seen and heard and cherished, where it’s always safe to express your needs and ask for what you want. I hope you feel pride in your uniqueness, that you follow your passion to find the work you love. I hope you know and trust that you’re here for a purpose, that you’re part of something so much greater than can ever be expressed in words. I hope you trust in your intuition and always speak your truth. I hope you write new stories about how the world could be, and that you share these stores and advocate for your own vision. I hope you trust in your power, that boundless, life-changing, world-healing power that lives inside your heart. And I hope you know that you are born for love and made of love, and that you will always find the courage to love, to shine your love on the darkness, to be the love that lights the world.
"You have done SO much for my daughter’s confidence and self discovery through your appreciation of her writing and encouraging her to speak from her true self and her true voice. Thank you for providing her and all your young writers a safe place to be their real self without judgment. It makes me happy to see her thriving as a writer and connecting with other girls who share a similar gift and experience through you!”
— Parent, Lamorinda, CA
“You are the best. You are such a positive and inspiring light for these kids. I love reading my daughter's stories. They actually make my eyes water for a host of reasons, mostly for gratitude that she has this time and space each week because it brings her so much joy. Thank you for helping all the girls see their strength and learn how to put it into words and stories. Thank you for all your gifts!”
— Parent, Lafayette, CA
"I can't thank you enough! The amount of joy, confidence and creativity you bring to this world is immeasurable. We are so happy that you are part of this world and a part of our daughter's life.”
— Parent, Orinda, CA
“You are such a blessing to so, so many young girls who struggle with the challenges of these difficult, self doubting, teenage years. Thank you for helping my daughter discover her strengths and learn to trust herself through writing.” — Parent, Walnut Creek, CA