One day when I was in fifth grade, my class was participating in a tornado drill. We were all curled up on the floor with hands over our heads. I heard really loud laughter coming from behind me - from one of my good friends and the boy I had a crush on. But, a teacher quickly scolded them for being so loud during the drill and I had to wait until afterward to find out what was so funny. As we were lined up walking back to class, I asked them what they were laughing so hard about. To which my friend replied “We just looked up and all we could see was your big butt in our faces.” This sent both of them into a fit of giggles again and the embarrassment and shame hit me. I walked red faced and very quiet back to class and then never told anyone about the experience until years later when I was explaining when my low self esteem started to my husband. That small interaction began years of critiquing myself and putting more emphasis on the way I looked than on how good my heart was.
I now have three children, two of whom have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders and one with ADD. One of the big symptoms I have seen in both of them is a lack of self confidence and the ability to speak up for themselves or to share what’s on their mind. In my work with youth at church and in my photography business, I have also noticed a hesitancy among many teens to let their guard down and share their ideas or to speak up among more vocal peers.
I want to help change the tide of that. I want to create a safe space for the rising generation to develop deep, meaningful friendships. I want them to find mentors who will help lift them up, encourage them and guide them to use their voice for good. Most importantly, I want them to know that they are enough - YOU are enough - just the way they are.
Pieced Together is that community. Sometimes it can be hard to see the big picture. But, as we work on one small piece at a time we start to see how it all fits together. WE all fit together and make things better.
Here you will find inspiration, tools and examples of people living boldly. Check back often because we are just getting started!