As a young girl I had discomfort and embarrassment about my body.   Did you?

I remember my first year of school, being too scared to raise my hand and ask go to the bathroom. I developed a sort of distended belly from holding in my pee.  But at least I didn’t have to expose myself to the whole class!

It has been a long journey to get truly comfortable with my body; having physical needs, getting them met and not worrying about burdening, bothering or annoying other people.

That is why it is deeply satisfying for me now to help people develop loving relationships with their bodies, get in touch with their needs and desires, and learn to ask for and receive them.

It is also important to me anywhere I go to be an advocate for girls and young women speaking up for themselves.

This summer I was on a camping trip, staying at a beautiful (and very popular) spot on a lake.

When I went up to the outhouse in the morning, it was no surprise that three other parties showed up at the same time. It was morning time!

There was a woman. A dad with a little toddler. And a little girl.

So I asked:

“Does anyone need to go really bad?”

The woman said no. The dad was a little ambivalent. The little girl said nothing. The woman left to come back in a few minutes. I told the dad to go ahead.

As I stood waiting my turn with the little girl I noticed that she was quite antsy.

”You need to go bad, don’t you?” I asked her

She nodded yes.

Then this is what I said to her:

”You know when I asked if anyone needed to go bad? That was you. You need to go bad. Next time say ‘me.’”

She looked up into my eyes and acknowledged the permission.

I felt that she got it.

When the Dad came out, I let her go next.

When she came out, she gave me a big smile.

”Do you know how old I am?” she asked me.

”How old?”

”I’m five years old,” she said with pride.

My heart swelled with pride. This connection had meant something to her.

I hope that next time she gets a chance to speak up for herself she will remember our little conversation. She will feel okay to ask for her needs.

It is important to give our young girls and women a voice whenever and however we can. Especially when it comes to taking care of and listening to their bodies.

Let’s prevent them from going through what we have gone through as women: hiding and dismissing our needs, de-prioritizing our wellbeing and desires.

Our youth learn what we model.

Question: What physical, sexual or emotional needs might you be de-prioritizing? What is one step toward finding your voice and getting your needs met?

Remember, Love is Your Nature!

– Zoey