Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Anne Frank

Were Anne Frank still alive, she would be turning 83 today.

However, we know her life tragically ended at the age of 15 when she and her family were captured and sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. But, birthdays are meant to be happy occasions. So, rather than reflect on her death, I think we should celebrate all that she accomplished in those fifteen short years.
Anne Frank is Anne Frank because of every teenage girl’s nightmare – her personal diary, given to her on her 13th birthday, was published in a book. Her secrets, embarrassments, and dreams are forever in print, and people all over the world are privy to them. There was a whole product line in the 90’s that made diary protectors with voice activated passwords and pink combination locks designed specifically to keep this kind of thing from happening.
Anne, in her own words, tells us what it was like to be a teenage girl, growing up. What I love most about her diary is that it sounds a lot like what it was like for me to be a teenage girl, growing up. I bet that if Blue Ivy’s great-great-great granddaughter wrote a diary in the year 3000, it would sound a lot like Anne’s too. 
Most simply, Anne let us know that we aren’t growing up alone. We are all confused and moody and hating these changes our bodies are undergoing and falling in love for the first time and all that other stuff our parents never really talked to us about. 
So, no, Anne, I’m not really sorry that Otto and Edith got you a regular ol’ journal, rather than a Girl Tech Password Journal with a USB port for your record player. The best thing that happened to your words is that they were shared.
On top of everything that her words meant, and everything they were about, Anne’s words were wise beyond her years. Anne was smart and insightful and eloquent, and she was young. I think that’s the second lesson Anne’s diary taught us – there’s no height requirement you have to hit before your voice suddenly matters. Just because you still need your parents to drive you to Delia’s does not mean you don’t have something important to say. 
In her own words she stated, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 
There are girls, younger than Anne, who prove her point every single day on this website.
But, maybe, like me, you’re already older than Anne was when she died. Maybe you still haven’t found your voice or decided the mark you want to leave on this world or even figured out how to file your own taxes. Whatever it is, start now, today. On the birthday of a girl who should be an inspiration to all of us.
And, I mean, again, she did let us read her diary and all… I feel like we owe her something pretty big in return.
Happy Birthday, Anne! May you be remembered for many more to come. 

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