It’s International Women’s Day today, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect as my business partner and I have just launched our new Women’s Empowerment Programme in India.
It’s a 6 week-long volunteer programme that trains skilled professionals who are taking some time out because they want to get into more meaningful work. After our specialist one week Bootcamp, where they learn all about social entrepreneurship and how to find solutions to problems, they graduate as Social Enterprise Consultants. For the remaining five weeks they’ll work alongside amazing aspiring social entrepreneurs who are passionate about tackling women’s issues in India.
We’ve just launched our new programme via Escape the City and have already had a phenomenal response. It’s super exciting.
To honour all the women around the world who are suffering from injustice, I wanted to do a written version of the #DearMe video campaign that’s gone viral this weekend on YouTube. The idea is that you write a letter to your younger self, and if you could tell them what you know now, what would you say?
Hey look, if on some tiny small level doing this can encourage someone from the younger generation to see things differently – then i’m all for it. So here we go!
I just spent the evening watching a cultural play on an island called Kochi, in the Kerala region of Southern India. The story of the show was told through the act of MIME, and was about a women (which was actually a man, dressed up in elaborate women’s clothing, with incredibly huge ‘scouse brows’) who falls in love with a MAN (also a man, dressed up in elaborate women’s clothing), and to mark his love for her, cuts off her breasts with a machete.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I just wanted to say – this little thing called life.. expect the unexpected!
Life is not predictable. I mean, it can be. If you want it to be. If you think playing it safe, is what you want. You can have safe. You can marry your first love. You could have two teenagers by now. A house in the suburbs. A well paid job in sales. You won’t want it though. And you don’t need me to say that.
Ok. Let me just lay it on the line… [serious tone].
You’re going to want constant change.
You’ll fight it, thinking it’s a fault of yours.
You will feel like everything isn’t the way it’s meant to be and yet you’ll feel like in some strange way, it’s totally meant to be that way. And some people will come along and make you feel like all the uncertainty aligns into one shiny bright line.
And you might lose it, and you might bruise from it..
And that’s OK.
I don’t wanna say too much because I think to do that will be to take away all the mystery and the surprise, but know this. You’re going to fucking panic! You’ll feel lost, and you may want to dive under the duvet for a while – so go and invest in a really good duvet!
You’ll want the opposite of everything you worry you are predetermined to get. And it will make you go stir crazy for a while.
But go crazy.
Live your life under the stars.
On a beach in Thailand.
I’ve not actually been to Peru or Goa. But I plan to some day.
Look, just do whatever it is that you feel it is that you need to do.
Do all the wrong things.
Make the mistakes.
And look every person in the eye, and be present in every moment. Don’t shy from it or try to control it.
….. Or try to control it.
And shy from it!
It really doesn’t matter, none of this matters. Because you’re going to fret about your waist line and the size of your nose, and that boy who threw his tin pencil case at your head or kicked you on the stairs in year 10. And you should care about those things. Every 15 year old should! Those things matter.
But be glad for the bullies and the people who let you down, and the ones who’s morals are in the wrong order. Love them. Because they’re giving you the best gift they could – wisdom.