Making Lemonade out of Lemons: How to learn from your pain to give back

Submitted By: Maria and Mel

mel-mariaAs a teenager my life was a mix of ups and downs, seemingly endless fights with my parents, outrageous hang ups about my body, overwhelming anxiety about who I was and where I was going, and layer upon layer of frustration, confusion and self-doubt. I’m not going to lie to you my teen years were not pleasant!

The funny thing most adults will tell you is, they would kill to have their teenage body back, yet as teens we are so insecure about our bodies that we end up wishing we would be adults already. As an adult, I think back to my younger years and wish I was more present, in the moment and fearless because those years passed by marred by self doubt and insecurities.

Looking back, there were so many things and life lessons I wish I could have taught my younger self, problems that seemed so consuming were really so insignificant in the grander scheme of life. Life is wonderful, but as teens we are so preoccupied with fitting in, so lost in our perception of ourselves that we lose track of the important things.

As the years passed I came to realize I wanted to help others going through these challenging years. I wanted to give others the tools to help deal with all the pressure, build their confidence and motivation, be an ear when they wanted to talk, and through it all reassure them that everything was going to be OK. Because it will. See, what I wish I could have told my younger self is — life is all about perspective, and when you have the right perspective, life is amazing and the world is your oyster.

I went on and studied Psychology, Psychotherapy and Adult and Youth Coaching. I worked with teens and their families in schools, one to one and even on a psychiatric ward for a number of years. I wanted to find the best ways to help, to understand the deepest truths of each person, to offer support and love in all ways I could.

I met my amazing friend and Co-creator of SuperChicks Camp Melissa Pangkey last year at Awesomeness Fest. She shared her own fruitful story about her turbulent adolescence. We began to discuss, and ideas began to flow.

We realized then we shared a passion and vision. We wanted to help teen girls by giving them the opportunity to truly build their confidence, gain greater self-awareness, love themselves more and get clear on what they wanted their lives to look and feel like – basically everything we had wanted to know and experience 15 to 20 years ago!

Our ideas turned into actions and before we knew it we had a website, our inbox was overflowing and we were scheduling Welcome Chats with parents.

People are most passionate about things that are meaningful to them in some way or other. Once we connect to what is important to us and why then we can begin to move forward in ways that bring great excitement and joy both to us and to others!

Our teenage selves couldn’t have imagined that we would be doing something like this down the line, but that’s the beauty of life, we get to learn from our own hardships and we can make life better for others.


Maria Mara and Melissa Pangkey are the co-creators of SuperChicks Camp – A teen empowerment retreat for girls aged between 13 and 16 that combines personal development and skill building with fun and creativity. The next camp will run on April 9 – 12th, 2015 in California. Check out their website for more information


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Have you ever been told you can't because you're a girl?

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