• Kathleen Van Engen


Dear Her,

I am beyond ecstatic that March 8th is here and that means that we can finally put into your hands resources that if we do it right, will encourage, support, and empower you.

Why are we doing all of this? Because we believe in you.

A lot.

Like really. A lot. And I know how important it is to be believed in. I’m convinced that being really believed in by one person, can change the course of your life.

I’ve also been around long enough to know how many things can get in the way of you believing in yourself.

We can’t have that, you not believing yourself. Your world needs you. It needs you to pursue that passion that started out years ago as only a whispered thought “hey, someone should change that” or, “I could spend my life doing this.” If cared for properly, that passion will grow from a thought into a movement.

Our world needs your movement.

The colour of your hair, the things that make you cry, whether they be tears of uncontrollable joy or indescribable compassion, none of it is by chance. You have been given everything you need to live a life of great purpose and all of the intricate details that make ‘you’, you, when working at their fullest potential, oh my goodness, you can’t begin to imagine the possibilities.

Let me tell you a story about myself.

I was 17. I was loved by family but somewhere along the way decided that wasn’t enough.

I think my biggest want in life was to be included by everybody and anybody. I hated that feeling of being “left out” or chosen second (not to mention last). And so I competed. I adapted. I morphed, into whatever and whoever I needed to be as long as I wasn’t alone.

As you can imagine, or as some of you may know personally, that want can feel temporarily met a number of different ways. I think I may have tried them all.

The problem was, none of them lasted very long.

Popularity only worked when I was surrounded by people. No matter how hard you try, at some point you have to be alone with yourself.

Drugs and alcohol worked for as long as the high did. The fall down was fast, numbing, and more often than not, heart breaking. I lost a part of myself every time I rode that rollercoaster.

Relationships; the biggest liar of them all. I loved to feel ‘loved’, the only problem was that I wasn’t experiencing love, not even a little bit.

I was easily manipulated. I was chipped away slowly with “if you don’t, then she will” or “you’re saying no, but what you really mean is yes.”

I learned to be quiet when I was told “you need to get over this” after I sought protection from the most confusing and traumatizing experience of my life. That was the day I lost my courage.

I was 17. It was too much. It was too hard.

I remember locking myself in the bathroom at a party once that I didn’t even want to be at. I looked in the mirror and the room was spinning. I remember focusing in on my face and having no idea who I was looking at. I felt nothing when I looked at her.

How did I get here?

I had reached what they call ‘rock bottom’. Life had no spark, I was out of temporary solutions. I had no voice. I had no courage. I felt alone even when I was surrounded by people.

The way I saw it was that I had two options.




I chose to stay. I chose to believe that this wasn’t all that could come from my life. That despite where I found myself, the door wasn’t locked. I only thought it was. I could open it, and I could walk out. any. time. I wanted.

So that’s what I did. I walked out. No, I ran out, as fast and as far as I could.

I didn’t look behind me and I started to become someone that I liked. Someone that I was proud of. If I started to get tired I looked at the sidelines of my life and I saw people cheering me on, people who I never had noticed before.

I heard them yell things as I ran, and sometimes as I walked. To be honest, I heard them the best during the times where I was standing completely still and they had to remind me where it was that I was going, what was at the end.

They yelled things like:

  • You really can do this

  • I’m here if you need me

  • I’ll love you whether you finish or not

  • Don’t go back, think about how far you’ve come

They told me the truth. It wasn’t long before I looked in the mirror again and instead of seeing a stranger, I saw strength. courage. passion. I saw someone I knew. A friend who I never wanted to be away from ever again.

So why did I tell you that?

Because that day when I was 17 and lost my courage, was the same day that years later inspired my purpose. I made a promise to myself that I would look every teenage girl right in their incredibly beautiful face and tell them the truth. I would never. ever. tell them to 'get over it.'

So you’ve found yourself here, on our website, which means you’ve found me. And here is my promise to you.

I may not know your name, or the colour of your hair, or whether or not you recognize who you see when you look in the mirror. But I promise, that I am on the sidelines of your life cheering you on. I will be here yelling truth SO LOUDLY that you hear me no matter how far apart we may be from each other.

I promise to remind you who you are and where you’re going, and what is at the end of that often times very hard and seemingly very long road away from who you feel you have become.

I promise to take you as you are, tattered or together and I promise to fight with you. To fight against every lie that has wrapped itself around your sense of worth and your measure of value, and I’ll celebrate with you as you win. Because you will win.

So do me a favour will you?

Take that lock off and open the door. Step out. Take a deep breath. Now walk.

The world is yours for the taking,

Always hers,


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