as you may have picked up on, I usually write these blog posts from the view point of Dear She. I write them as a collective group, I write them as you, as me, as all of us. But this one is coming straight from me (Jessi) this time because I have a big thank you to make!
When I was first getting ready to launch the Dear She website, I was really nervous. I didn’t know how it would be received. Would people like it? Understand it? Want to do it? There was only one place I wanted to bring Dear She into the world for the first time; my high school Webster Thomas. I struggled with my body image and self confidence so much growing up. But it was at Webster Thomas that I met some incredible teachers who helped me start to change my life. Todd Stahl, my art teacher through all of high school gave me something more valuable then I could ever imagine. He gave me the ability to express anything I was going through with art. He taught me to channel my hurt into something beautiful, something that could maybe help others when they saw it. And that is exactly what I created Dear She to do. Dear She challenges women to lay down their burdens, lay them down in the hopes that we can lift them together. That we can be stronger together.
Mr. Stahl’s class room in my high school was right across the hall from my two favorite English teachers; Sheila Byrne and Carolyn Stahl (yes, Mr. Stahl’s wife ironically). Between those three doors I felt safe. When I felt like I didn’t have anyone to eat lunch with they took me in, and when I tried to laugh off something I was struggling with they saw through it. Ms. Byrne and Mrs. Stahl taught me to write, they taught me to be honest, they taught me that words are a powerful tool. And that is also where Dear She grew from.
These amazing teachers helped make me who I am today. There would be no Dear She without them…there would be no me without them. I want Dear She to help women like they have helped me, I want women to feel the security I felt between those three doors. And together we can make it happen. You never know who your letter can help, you never know who’s life you could change.
And that’s why I wrote this…to make sure that they know how much they changed mine. So thank you Mr. Stahl, Mrs. Stahl and Ms. Byrne, from the bottom of my heart.