If the World Were Like Girls Rock CampPosted: March 9, 2012
By Attia Taylor
Growing up was a little difficult for me. We all go through two million stages before we settle with something that seems about right. Some of mine were trying to be a “tomboy,” getting into art, making everyone laugh, just to name a few. Somehow, trying to figure that out was a serious challenge during my younger years.
Music in my house growing up was pretty much hip-hop, 90’s girl groups and whatever was on the radio. I also got a nice taste of 60’s and 70’s soul music from time to time but that was far and few in between. I had a very narrow scope of what music was and all I knew then was that it was a definite obsession. I knew I wanted to sing, but sing what? Pop music? I loved the Spice Girls.
I wondered if I was missing something in the music world. The answer was so obviously, yes! I was on a long journey of discovery. Music was my shoulder and my friend and because I went to boarding school and was probably the most introverted 7 year old ever, I used music to feel.
I think our tough experiences as children are bottled up and explode in slow motion when we get old enough to realize what happened to us. It could be called our teenage angst! I was the queen of angst, however where most girls take their angst out on their families and society, I had to take that angst out on myself and hated who I was “taught to be”. Afraid of my own shadow, I spent all of my years as a teenager fearful of the world and hating my true personal expression. Although I wrote a lot of music as a child, I never felt courageous enough to share it. I never felt courageous enough to share hardly anything.
I was also afraid that people would think my “weird” voice, just wasn’t good enough. I found musicians like Imogen Heap and PJ Harvey to be so interesting when I was 16 because I had never seen women who did
exactly what they wanted to do with their very own music. It was mind-blowing at the time– mind-blowing and inspiring. I think a light bulb went off or a switch was flicked on in my head and I thought, “I can actually do this.” I had finally grown out of being so afraid of the thoughts and opinions of others.
My biggest fear, now as I get older, is seeing young girls with so much to offer and not enough courage to follow through. It is so easy to become sucked into being someone you’re not but the even harder part in high school and even college is staying true to the person you are. Everyday there is something or someone telling you who to dress like and how your skin needs to feel. The question is, has listening to any of this stuff ever made me feel better about my body or just more worried and self conscious that I will get spots on my face like a Dalmatian if I don’t use the proper skin cream?
What I learned just this year is that you have to force yourself, force yourself to do the things you want to do and force yourself to be who you are. It’s a secondary thought that doesn’t come naturally just yet for me but I am really forcing myself to be in love with what I have going on and luckily for me, I was able to discover my hidden
power in my music when I attended Girls Rock Philly (an empowering music camp for young girls) when I was 17. Programs like GRP really do make a huge difference! I went from not singing at all in front of anyone to playing shows every month and sharing my music with the world. My dream is that one day young girls and women won’t need to look outside of themselves or on a TV for encouragement and confidence in their abilities. I guess this came from being someone who saw every female friend or family member afraid to speak up or have and lose their own voice on account of a man, media or peers. I also don’t believe that anyone or thing can give you a voice, it’s a misconception. We have every capability inside of us and there are countless ways that we can use our voices as a way to change the way we look at ourselves and the way we look at others. I have a genuine need for girls to live in a society like the one we have during our camp week at Girls Rock; positive, encouraging, and life-changing.