As many of you know, I work for SheKnows Media and one of our properties is BlogHer. This year, I joined the programming team for BlogHer to onboard speakers for our annual conference, and thus, had the opportunity to attend the event last month. In the past, we've had speakers from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian, allowing us a fairly diverse range of individuals. However, the common threads among these women remain their strength, success, and ability to shake things up in their respective fields. This year's conference had a recurring theme of "Winning Women", and consequently, many of our speakers were female athletes. Among them was professional volleyball star, Gabby Reece.
In our closing keynote, Gabby was joined by Quincy Davis and Charli Howard, to discuss advice to their younger selves with our community of Brooklyn tweens, the Hatch Kids. During this keynote, Gabby offered a piece of wisdom that has resonated with me since...
"If the world's beauty is your currency, you grow poorer each day"
Allowing yourself to be put in a mold while trying to please everyone who claims to determine what beauty is or should be, is a losing proposition. Rather, honing a craft, a skill or a talent unique to you is a much more fruitful use of your time and energy. Nobody can please everyone, and if you spend your time striving to achieve a fleeting, unachievable and ephemeral quality, you will never be satisfied.
While I too have fallen victim to attempting to achieve an unattainable standard, I've found that the satisfaction received for a compliment about your looks pales in comparison to the satisfaction of doing something meaningful that takes time, effort, and hard work to accomplish. I admit I'm no pro athlete and I'm at best an amateur writer; but when I decided to expand my creative outlet beyond the 'gram and construct this blog, I hoped to apply my ability and love for storytelling to challenge people to think and question the world at large. To be honest, I still love an easy post about fitness, food, or makeup, but a pretty aesthetic only goes so far. It is the work that often hurts to conceive that counts the most, and may actually make a difference in someone else's life.
This past weekend, I was approached by someone who had been reading my posts and they thanked me for writing something meaningful. This person went on to confide in me about their personal struggles, and how my words were helpful to them. This experience reinforced for me the immense power of the written word and how important it is to implement it in a way that is productive and influential. I admit I'm not going to stop creating more light and fun works in addition to more thought-provoking pieces (I don't want this space to become an effing morgue), but I also don't intend to lose my purpose. I am embracing my talent to tell stories, challenge others' convictions, and if I can create something that may make someone's life just an ounce better (even if it's merely a laugh), that's priceless.
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