16 November, 2010
her expression has been haunting me since i posted my original girl effect entry late last night. or was that eary this morning? as i drove my own girl to school today, i had a big old knot in my belly, the knowing that something was out of alignment in the way that i approached this assignment. the words i chose, the style i did it in, the control i tried to have over it: it didn’t fit. it did not fit because it is not my way.
so as she stares me down, i have to tell you the truth. i’m uncomfortable with big bold imperatives and commanding calls. when i composed the post, something in me felt such a huge responsibility to do right by this girl in the photo, and all girls really, that i froze. i borrowed from the formats of other bloggers who comfortably increase their font size to make a point. i feared that my style was not bold enough to do justice to the cause.
but here’s the thing. all i want for this girl, for my daughter, and for myself, is freedom. freedom to be exactly who we are. to be full expressions of our potential. i believe in the girl effect. i believe that if you give a girl an education, if you offer her love and encouragement, if you provide her with the resources to learn and to discover HER way, she will give back to herself, her children, her community, and the planet. we will all be better for it. this is what i has taken me (almost) forty years to learn. and this is what i am teaching my children.
so, in alignment with what i believe and know to be true, i offer you a more authentic post. one that is done my way. where i tell you, honestly and in small font, that i love nothing more than to travel the world and to capture the beauty of girls and women. that in seeing them, i see myself. the me inside that is eager to sit in the front row and unafraid to look someone in the eye. i want only for her freedom. i want only for OUR freedom.
i am new to the world of aid and development. to the theories and strategies of how best to affect change where there is great suffering in the world. it is complicated, i am learning, and maybe someday it will be in alignment for me to use bold titles and to tell you with confidence what i think you should do. what i know myself to be today is an artist. a humanitarian photographer. i know this is my way. i connect through experience. through seeing. and so i offer you what i think is my best offering to this cause: images of girls i’ve seen. girls who need support. girls i’ve stood right in front of, girls who have looked right at me, and shown me the way. these girls have had a huge effect on me. seems the very least i could do is give back.
do you see what i see? the potential for freedom? the power to ease suffering? that we really are all made of the same stuff?
if so, do something. and do it your way. you’ll know what that is. start here if you need some suggestions.