Courage Stories is back this week with another show-stopping, gorgeous-hearted human. Quarter lifer, Julia Falco, is a force to be reckoned with and a true speak-her-mind badass millennial. She is paving the way for herself within social justice and I can only imagine the positive change she will bring to this planet. I met Julia through one of my best friends and was struck by the innovative ways in which she has been empowering young women since she was just 14 years old. Her selflessness and activist heart are just two of the many reasons why I think Julia is rocking courage everyday. Read on and find out how she does it…
Julia is a white, settler, queer feminist academic and entrepreneur. Passionate about migrant rights, social justice, and smiling. Camp enthusiast. Chocoholic.
What is your definition of ‘courage’?
For me, courage is channelling my doubts and fears into intention and action. It’s definitely easier said than done, but I believe that taking those thoughtful risks is always worthwhile: you’ll either learn from your loss or grow for the ground that you gain.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that 20 and 30 somethings face today?
A lot of the 20 and 30 somethings that I’m surrounded by are struggling to figure out how to make a life out of what they’re passionate about. It seems that people are spending their education and careers in fields they don’t love while spending any spare time they have on their passion, or people are taking the risk of investing their time or education in what they love, though it may not pay the bills. My personal, political, and professional goals are deeply interconnected, so making it work financially is challenging but (hopefully) possible.
What do you do everyday that inspires you and keeps you on track?
My relationships and the communities I’m a part of are what keep me grounded and inspired. Exercise is a big stress reliever for me so I try to hit the gym and play sports when I can. I think best when I’m swimming or in nature, so I’ll seek that out if I need to clear my head or re-focus my energy.
What was the most recent risk you took?
I recently came out to family and friends as bisexual. While I am so thankful to be surrounded by many supportive and loving people, it has still been a long process of unlearning feelings of guilt and shame. Living life as authentically as I can is important to me though, and learning to love my queerness has also been exciting and liberating.
What advice would you give someone who is struggling to find their direction and doubts their abilities?
Focus, determination, creativity and love.
How do you stay confident?
My self-esteem and confidence have developed over time and I think they will always have their ups and downs throughout life. Growing up, putting energy into efforts and causes outside myself helped me channel my energy in productive and meaningful ways, rather than focusing on my image and myself. Also, my studies and interest in feminism have significantly helped me unlearn expectations of conventional femininity and embrace who I am. My confidence comes from the things and people that bring me happiness or strength: working hard, working out, writing, wonderful friends, the outdoors, dance parties.
What does your self-talk sound like?
The majority of my doubts come from insecurities concerning whether I am enough. Am I actually capable enough to start a summer camp at the age of 14? Am I knowledgeable enough to start grad school straight out of my undergrad? Am I doing enough for my family, friends, lovers? I self-talk to remind myself that I am enough, that sometimes I need to put myself first, that I can make decisions with conviction, and that mistakes and failure are the heart of growth.
What are you working on right now? What should we know about you and your current venture?
Currently, I’m finishing my M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Research and trying to make the most of my first summer in 8 years not spent working at summer camp! After stressing about what to do when I graduate and filling out what felt like a hundred applications over the past couple months, I’m excited to be starting an internship with Amnesty International Canada in September!
Am I right!? Julia is making serious waves out there and this is just the beginning. Don’t waste anytime – connect with her and start following her journey today!
Remember, you are worthy and beautiful. You are enough! Julia would say so too 🙂