Not having health insurance I sat in the waiting room of the local ‘tribal’ clinic waiting for my annual routine blood work to be drawn. Sitting across the room was a Native or Hispanic mother with her daughter, who is just becoming a woman. She watched the television and got up a few times to answer a question or help her mother with a form. I was struck by her natural beauty, her chiseled face, large doe-like brown eyes, her body mid-way transforming from a child to a woman.

It was ever-so-clear that she had innately great dignity, poise, sensitivity, grace, empathy, affection, all the attributes of human intelligence, blossoming. Her mother was kind. The affection she and her daughter shared was palpable. The mother was overweight, dressed in jeans and a large white T-shirt. The daughter’s top and embroidered pants were painted on, tasteful but over done as is most of adolescence.

It was hard not to notice in the crowded waiting room, how most, even the children, were more than a little overweight, slurping on their gigantic drinks, distracted again and again by noisy flashing screens, the big TV happily pushing drugs, tablets and dumb-phones. I returned again to the young almost-woman sitting there – becoming what? Just like everyone else in the room or the beauty nature invested in, billions of years, reaching, flowering, ever-more beautiful, sensitive, aware and intelligent.

Who would teach this almost-woman what it means to be fully in her body, to move with grace and ease, to be sensitive, completely aware but never self-conscious? Who would model for her the intelligence of her own heart and how it always moves for that which is life affirming, in herself and in the world? Who would reveal to her, intelligently, the false hopes and false fears that bind the culture in predictable patterns, at the expense of her and everyone’s true and vast potential? Who would show her that most of what is called food is not, that babies don’t want or need to cry, that her sexuality is sacred? Who will nurture all these things and more, insuring that this almost woman becomes the miracle nature intended instead of Barbie or another Pussy Cat Doll, not that entertainers are bad, they are not. But don’t forget, show biz is show biz and not the true model nature intended, but what else do we offer young men and women? Pop stars, politicians and paid athletes? Nice.

This beautiful almost-woman’s life is at a tipping point. It could go either way. To become everything she can be she needs a hero, a trusted friend to mentor the way. Where will this young woman find that helping, supportive, encouraging hand and heart? Not in compulsory government schools. Not in popular culture, in films, TV, in piercing and tattoo parlors, on the internet, or her shiny new phone. Like a plant wilting, slowly drooping, starved of life affirming moisture, this almost woman is swimming in an ocean of junk-food counterfeits all masquerading as the real deal.

Like tuning forks young people, everyone really, resonate and adapt, conform to the model environment. We have to – to survive. We create our mask, our social identity, as copping strategy to navigate the counterfeits, counterfeit parents, counterfeit schools, counterfeit commercial behaviors and values, and then we forget we are wearing the mask. So much energy and attention goes into the coping strategy that we have no energy, no awareness left to see and nurture who we really are.

This deep, authentic level is what this beautiful almost-woman needs to inspire, to trust, respect and become. As with every generation this beauty is looking for someone, hoping she is not alone, someone who can affirm all the dreams she can barely still remember. But the dreams, the deep knowing are there, whispering and ever so real, and expecting. Is it you?

Michael Mendizza