The Women Who Said Yes to Themselves
Warrior woman, I see you.
I see you every day.
I see you as you walk past me on the street, weaving through crowded avenues, your feet sinking into the paving stones with each overwhelmed step.
I see you as you cover your face with your hands, letting your head surrender its heaviness, wondering when the calm will come, when the angst will leave.
I see you on long nights when you soothe your crying child, when you survive on hot tea and turn away from the cold chimes of a clock that judges your use of each second.
I see your beauty and your brokenness and the tattered griefs and dreams that you carry balled up in your fists.
And when I see you, I hear you, too.
I hear your heart as it cries out with confusion as you stand so silently, pressing your lips tightly together for fear your voice might also cry out in unison.
I know the weight, sweet Warrior. I know it well. Some days it's a crushing despair:
I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do me.
Choosing yourself in a world that asks you to suffocate your self expression takes fire and fortitude, I know.
The World will tell you that you are too much. Too feisty. Too strong. Too daring.
The World will tell you that you are not enough. Not good enough. Not slim enough. Not pretty enough.
There is a field that lies between the lands of these mixed messages. Within that field lives your truth. It is that soil which you must tend to and care for, because that is the soil which will support and nourish your soul.
Each day, upon waking, you must make a choice.
As you open the lids of your eyes from their sweet slumber, The World will demand that you close the doors on your deepest dreams.
As you lift your head from the pillow which softly cradles the hopes and visions that sweep over you in your reverie, The World will assert that you shake off your aspirations and send them back to the clouds from which they flew.
It will insist that as you wash away the sleep from your eyes, so must you drown your wistful longings, turning your head the other way so you are not moved to rescue each dying Could Have Been that gasps for air.
The World will ask you to put on your dress of conformity and pay no mind to its shapeless, soulless restraint.
And with every single sunrise it will be up to you to say No to that world. It will be up to you to say Yes to yourself. And it will take every ounce of soul power to keep to that commitment.
It is easy to confine your dreams to the dark hours where midnight shadows provide their safety blanket of cover for your imagination to play with joyful abandon.
It is much harder to brave the daylight glare when you are so very seen and The World is watching with a cruel smile as it waits for you to stumble with each tentative step that you take.
And it is harder still to do this repeatedly, to keep being brave and bold and choosing your own sovereignty over the baubles and sparkles that The World will try to entice you with as it hacks at your heart with no mercy.
And yet, Brave Heart, you must. Because your life depends on it.
Your courage will not always come easily for there will be many, many days when your weary body will long to seek solace in a space far from the roaring battlefield and ever madding crowd.
You will lie to yourself. There will be times when you are too torn, too tender to want to continue on your path. You will long for the cover of convenience and you may tell your tired soul that you don't mind settling, that it's ok to give up now. It's not. Forge forward.
To survive, you must learn to hunt. For truth. For beauty. For meaning. These will be the crumbs that sustain you. You will feast on their goodness and get drunk on their intoxicating wonder.
You will know loss. Deep, cavernous, gutting, shattering loss. Your breath will leave your body and it may feel like a lifetime has passed before you're able to inhale something good again. The temptation to set the clock to a future time will envelop you, but it is the present moment which holds the most meaningful message.
You will have to dig deep to find your strength. Every particle, every poem, every crushed Could Have Been will have to fight for its own survival and cling to its own raft.
When you need a reminder, when your head is too full with noise of who they want you to be and your heart is too empty with the absence of who you truly are, you must go back to your field of truth.
With your bare hands you must take the soil and let its rich, raw honesty stain your palms and find its way to your fingernails. Let it seep into your skin until doubt subsides and certainty returns.
Stay there, in that field, until the rains come. Until torrents from the sky run rivers all over you and you are sweating and shaking and spilling over with your own utter vitality. Let the echoes of who you are flood back to you until you are covered in their kisses, until you have pieced yourself back to the woman you were born to be.
You must become your own anchor. You must place faith in your own amazing grace and your own extraordinary story.
You must bear witness to yourself and hold the space needed for you breathe with ease. And you must defend that space, always.
On the nights when the darkness is too deep and the fear is too loud, know this:
All over the world there are countless other warrior women, just like you, who have fallen to their knees in their own fields of truth. They have taken their aching limbs and walked themselves back to the center of their being. And when they were too beaten down to walk, they crawled.
These are the women who against all the odds, against all the constraints, have defiantly risen up, over and over again.
And sometimes, they gather together, hand in hand, in a circle of strength, and The World falls silent as it stares in awe at the beautiful, limitless truth of the women who said Yes to themselves.