I’m 12 year old, Sumer Strawbree and my mission is to save and improve girls’ drowning self-esteem through positive affirmations and positive imagery. Recently, I donated 40 copies of my coloring book with positive affirmations ‘Black, Brown and Beautiful’ to Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida and Wilmington, Delaware.
Oftentimes, girls’ self-confidence begins to plummet around age 8 due to children at school and other environmental factors at home. Furthermore, parents often overlook or underestimate the mental health of their daughters and therefore it goes unacknowledged for some time.
I was bullied at school by the same group of kids from elementary school to middle school who would criticize how long my fingers were, comparing mine to theirs. It made me feel very sad like I needed to always hide my hands while at school. Another group of kids began to talk about how crooked my front tooth was, while it grew back in after both front teeth fell out at the same time. Up until recently, I did not like to smile with my teeth, out of fear of being negatively judged in front of a group of my peers. It was so bad that I wouldn’t even smile with my teeth at home around my family for pictures either.
My self-esteem had declined and my dad took notice. He noticed my once free-spirited smile had become restricted and captive. So, he introduced me to positive affirmations. He asked me to write down positive statements about my physical appearance in a composition notebook. So, starting with writing “I am”, I began to write positive statements about myself. Anything that I didn’t mention about myself, my dad told me that it needed to be written as a positive statement, as well.
My dad required me to recite my affirmations before going to school and once before going to sleep in the evening. Over time, the positive affirmations that I had written for myself began to reach my subconscious mind and my self-esteem was saved. No longer could those kids bullying statements drown my self-esteem.
I made it my mission to share with other girls what happened to me and how I overcame and am overcoming low self-esteem in those areas.
When I donated my coloring book to Nemours Children’s Hospital I did so knowing that I could hopefully cheer up a girl that may have been hospitalized and maybe feeling down. I did not want those girls with medical conditions to be forgotten when it came to inclusion and self-esteem. I featured two drawings in my coloring book that maybe a girl could relate to. One drawing is of a girl in a wheelchair and the other with a prosthetic leg. I wrote positive affirmations for both drawings. One says, “I still have freedom” and the other “I am complete”.
My mission to save and improve girls’ drowning self-esteem has provided me the opportunity to give back speaking to non-profits for girls, events, girls on Zoom, and recently the Orlando Science Center, Science for All Celebration Day where I gave a vision board workshop. I think it is possible for us all to begin saving our own self-esteem starting at home with positive affirmations to self!