The Better Story Project is Our Story

Last Saturday was a working Saturday for me so unfortunately, I was waaaaay late for the launch of the Better Story Project.

It ended at 4:30. I arrived, 4:15.

For a brief background, and because I think it’s important how you describe yourself, here’s what it says on their Facebook information:
Description

The Better Story Project is a mentoring program for young girls… After all, your life is a story and your story matters.

Mission

Our goal is to encourage, inspire and help young girls make smarter choices, pursue their passions, be comfortable in their own skin and rise up as the heroines of their one great story. We believe in them and we are hearts-on-our-sleeves rooting for them.  Inspiring you to be the hero of your better story. 

For latecomers like me, they provided a beaaautiful press kit which the girly part of me is very happy to have 🙂 But of course, how can you write a better story with just a press kit? (See what I did there?)

So, I started going around and asking people what they liked about the Better Story Project 🙂 Specifically, I asked: which of the monthly Better Story talks and gatherings did you enjoy the most?

Cole Ochosa, who works at the local recording label The Yellow Room, says the talk she learned from the most was the one about beauty by Aileen Ponce.

For sure, beauty is  contentious subject among women. All at once, the concept of beauty can make women cower and feel worthless, and drive them to the heights of obsessiveness. But, if you look at it in the Better-Story way, it can be a source of joy and endless self-discovery.

Cole’s main take-away: You are truly beautiful if, when you leave a place, you’ve made at least one person’s life easier and brighter. You’re beautiful if you leave a mark behind – if you impress hope and happiness on people.

Lucky me, three more pretty ladies gave me their time and felt willing to share to a complete stranger. Meet Aileen Ponce (marketing for VSO Bahaginan), Chris Lacdao (teacher),  and Chiara Garcia (student taking a year off).

Aileen in black, Chris in gray, Chiara in stripes

Like Cole, Chris’ favorite talk was the one on beauty. On the day of the talk, she says she woke up feeling ugly. (Girls, we all know what she’s talking about).

She says she almost didn’t go to the talk because of the irony of it, but she went anyway. Chris found herself entering a safe space.

Chris during the beauty talk, from their Facebook

To her, the talk and the Better Story Project in general was an opportunity to talk about things you pretend to be strong about, or not to care about even. To take the words from her mouth: here, people meet you where you are and even if technically you’re speaking with strangers, these strangers are understanding, enlightening, and hella willing to lift you up on your feet.

All of us agreed 🙂

Aileen during her talk, from their Facebook.

Aileen Ponce, the one who conducted the well-loved beauty talk says it was a very gratifying experience for her too. Women and beauty and making sure those two words didn’t have a negative connection is one of her advocacies.

She opened up (for which I am incredibly grateful) and said when she was young, she felt she wasn’t beautiful because her mother never said she was. As luck would have it, her mom volunteered to go to the talk 🙂

Humbly, she says she enjoyed the discussion afterwards, better than the talk she prepared.

I can attest to everything they said 🙂

Way back in March, I attended their Spoken Word workshop: I still say, one of the scariest experiences of my life. But once you’re there, in the words of Chris, “parang nasapian ka.” (It’s like you’re possessed.)

It’s like you’re possessed with the courage to step out of your comfort zone and say everything that’s really on your mind – not just what you think people will find interesting.

It really is liberating. You realize: no, you don’t need permission to say all these things you want to say AND no, no one’s going to judge you. The feeling of being accepted and listened to with complete openness is heady and it makes you want to share more and DO more.

In that sense, I think the Better Story Project is doing their job well.

I love the Better Story Project 🙂

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