By: Girl Up Teen Advisor Fasica Mersha
A Small Town Girl
On Thursday, November 16th, I was invited to attend the #DreamBigPrincess Global Photography Exhibit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This experience was undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever done and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity Girl Up gave me.
I live in a medium-sized town in suburban Georgia, so it is safe to say that New York City was a little bit out of my league. I spent the day speaking to reporters and United Nations supporters about my biggest passion: Girl Up.
I was told that I was going to have to say a small speech on what Girl Up means to me in front of an audience. On top of that, I was speaking last and they told me that everyone would be looking forward to my speech the most. So, no pressure there. I did not understand the importance of this speech until moments before I took to the podium. By then, the panic had really sunk in. I had never spoken to a large group of people before, let alone a room filled with adults. I was convinced that I was going to mess up or faint, and basically embarrass myself in front of everybody. However, to my surprise, I did much better than I assumed. I never really accounted for how influential Girl Up has been in my life. It has impacted me so much that I could even talk about it in my sleep.
By the end of the night, I had developed a new understanding of the #DreamBigPrincess campaign. In all honesty, I had never put much thought in the purpose of the campaign. I had been focusing on the word princess and not really the idea of “Dream Big.”
As I stood in front of the podium preparing to give my speech, I had a revelation that I could have never dreamed that this could happen to someone like me. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have pictured myself standing inside of the UN, in front of a podium, speaking to figures from UNICEF, Disney, and Girl Up. I never thought I would be able to do that ever, let alone at the age of seventeen. There lies the problem. I thought I wasn’t capable of creating change outside of my little community, and I had let my fears convince me that I wasn’t good enough. Girls are constantly being put down or made to feel guilty for standing up, and they occasionally have low self-esteem or think of themselves as less because society has conditioned them to do so.
However, through campaigns such as #DreamBigPrincess, Girl Up works to end this absurd notion that any girl is less than royalty. If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience it is that every girl, no matter how young or what their circumstances, should dare to dream big.