“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”C.S. Lewis
I can feel the heat rising off the road on my skinny extra bright white legs. There is chaos and chattering from teenage girls ten feet in front of us and behind us, but it’s just Becky and I walking alone for a minute. We are in Bear Lake, UT, walking to a local drive-in for a lime rickey. I don’t remember how the conversation led us to insecurities and struggles. I remember telling Becky that I felt really embarrassed about my acne and asked her if she thought it looked bad. Among the thousands of freckles, my skin was a red irritated constellation of pimples and I hated it. She touched my arm and looked at me with her big brown eyes compassionately and told me something I have never forgotten, “We’re always the hardest on ourselves. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.” She went on to say she didn’t really notice my skin and just enjoyed being with me. She gave me a pep talk about how my skin would get better and not to let it stop me from being confident and happy. I believed her. She was beautiful, confident, easy-going and so fun. She was a teacher in my youth group and she made us all feel so loved. I remember feeling like some of the teachers had favorites, but Becky was equally kind and attentive to all of us. Becky was a young mother, and at the time I didn’t realize what a sacrifice it was to leave her babies behind to come and be with us for campouts, weekly activities, and summer adventures like this one. She modeled time and time again the importance of a good attitude, an easy-going flexibility, and an inclusive mindset.
Looking back on this experience and so many others, I see the impact that confident and intuitive women have had on my life over and over again. Women who have taught me to include everyone, show confidence and trust my intuition. I am now a youth leader for young women and I try to teach these same things and show up with this same kind of attitude. I imagine the girls I am leading now will someday do the same. In a world so focused on appearance and popularity, I’ll be forever grateful for women who have modeled what really matters and remind me of who I really am when I forget.