The Big Lie.

MontagPeopleThere is so much on my to do list at the moment, but occasionally I’ll see something that makes me so worked up, if I don’t say something, I’ll lose it.  This is one of those moments. In fact, it was prompted by this week’s People cover story on Heidi Montag.  When I saw this, my heart literally ached, and I immediately thought to myself, “…and we lose another young woman to the lie.”  I truly believe that Vanity is the evil arch rival of Purpose.  I’m not talking about feeling good about yourself, and taking care of your appearance (ahem, my hair appointment is at 2pm), but the wasting of precious time and talent in this one life we’ve been given.

In my work, I get the opportunity to help women reclaim their voices through public presence workshops.  One of the key pieces of the program that Kristine Schaeffer and I have developed is when we talk about aligning each woman’s personal “purpose” with her professional “purpose.”  I am almost always humbled and THRILLED by the talents, passions, and plans of the women I meet.

And then I see a story like Heidi’s, and I start to lose hope – these images wrap around our young women like cellophane, and there is no escaping them.  But then I remember something I read in Mary Pipher’s groundbreaking “Reviving Ophelia,” about her work with depressed, troubled young girls.

“So much time has been wasted pretending to be who others wanted…  But also, there’s a new energy that comes from making connections, from choosing awareness over denial and from the telling of secrets.  We work now, 20 years behind schedule.  We reestablish each woman as the subject of her life, not as the object of others’ lives.”

To any of you young women out there, or to any who interact with young women, remember this:  Your life is worth something of incalculable value, and it has very little to do with what you look like.  You have never happened before, nor will you ever happen again in the course of history.

So, as Mary Oliver so beautifully said, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”