What does it mean to be a woman?I think that the answer lies within the heart and mind of each woman reading this.
(Still thinking of that beautiful young lady who was killed in Orlando, I’ve been stuck emotionally, and the best way to unstick is to unload.)
I don’t know her but I know she matters, and I know she loved, is loved.
I am a woman.
I often tried to put myself into a certain group of people, and it’s not because I was craving that high school groupy-ness but because more often than not, I just didn’t fit in. It use to bother me immensely. It made me insecure. It made me someone I wasn’t meant to be….
My femininity is beautiful. My gentleness/strength is empowering.
While trying to pen who I am, I’ve been thinking of all the women that have influenced me in the last year of life. This last year has taught me much about the human condition and all its glory/gore. The gray side of life. (Because for me as I age, the black/white, left/right, near/far on many things have melted to a calming shade of gray. There is less to fuss about. Don’t get me wrong – I still have absolutes, but in the gray I have found understanding and I’ve learned to understand.)
My mother, who I haven’t spoken to since last December, has taught me that I can be accepted – by me, without a desire to please her (or anyone else) and cut myself down. I have learned that I can still love her (and others) from afar, and not feel worthless for doing so. For myself this is HUGE. I try very hard to make everyone that I cherish feel that from me. I don’t ever want to let anyone down. Feeling as though I’ve failed someone feels like I AM the FAILURE. She was one of two voices I would hear in my mind when I’d done less than perfect anything. Hers by far has/had the biggest reach (1700 miles to be exact) and her words until recently cut me deeply, and had the magical ability to change me, how I viewed myself. It is not sad or tragic, though I use to feel that way. It’s life and a lesson I needed to learn for so long.
My friend Kristal, who is raising her two grandchildren. She is a faithful woman, both with her relationship with those she loves and with God. She listens when I talk to her. She lets me know she’s there when I need that – because we all do sometimes. She accepts me AND my crazy brood just the way we are. I have learned from her, that it’s never too late to love myself. I’ve learned that through her own life story, and how her life story has changed me.
Alyssa, who was the first person to follow Little Bits of Heaven, has become what I refer to as my ‘one in a million’. Our lives are like the reflections on the water. Almost the same, yet different enough to keep me looking, searching, but in a comforting way. She is the me if I were her and I if she were me. Her journey inspires me to look beyond the introvert I have become and be a part of the world again. She has taught me what it is to overcome, to cleanse, to use my words as a way to move through things rather than stop and stay. And that, for someone with anxiety, is a BIG deal. She is more a part of me than I thought I could find in a friend. I envy the way she can take a simple thought I pen and send it back with such illustration, with words that give life to the slow death that is each passing hour. She is true beyond measure.
My blogging buddy and gracious friend Annabella, who sends me weekly emails just to remind me that in my closed-circuit world someone’s still ‘out there’ caring about me, has shown me that I need not apologize for things I want out of life. Her wit, her desire to be authentic and trust the Lord has helped me through much in the last few months. She sent me the most beautiful something, and it’s real, tangible, touching, authentic. I could send her all the ranting/cursing that this sailors mouth could conjure up and she’d still see ME. ME. What a blessing. She doesn’t allow for shallow self loathing or to skip over the what if’s. She allows me those, and challenges me to take my life and desires head on, which sometimes I/you/me/we need.
Deb, whose life and love and gentle nature, which bleeds through every post and tugs at my heart strings, has taught me the importance of being gentle, but even more so that being gentle, even quiet – does not make me a woman of weakness, but strength. Things don’t always need to be said. Words do not need to be written just for filler. Peace, quiet, and a gentle nature have more power than I ever knew. The struggles have not taken her love away, but magnified it ten fold, in the most wonderful way.
Each of these women I would cross the country for. Be there to pull their hair back from their eyes in those sad and mournful moments, hands held tightly no matter the miles apart. I would/do/will celebrate them and their accomplishments. They inspire. They love. They are all true and beautiful.
I read what I’ve penned – and stop. I picture that young woman I’ve been thinking so much about. She must have been strong, to love herself in spite of all those who were against her. Her challenges in this life most likely gave her a loving and loyal nature toward those who truly loved all of her. Those gentle smiling eyes no doubt lit every room. I’m sure that she touched many lives in ways she will never know. She has taught me what it means to BE COURAGEOUS.
Myself, last but not least, always has room in my heart for you. I am loyal, at times to a fault. I’m a lover of God, my husband and family and the diversity of all the women who make up that which is ‘me’. I am beautiful. I have value. What I lack in social graces I make up for in my writing. I’ve lived more than I should have, but it’s given me perspective. I see the cracks in my mirrored reflection as that which keeps me grounded rather than that which stops me in my tracks. Happiness is progress. Wholeness is healing through my pain, and not allowing it to break me. I’m me, and that’s a miraculous thing to accept, more so to love.
Thank you to all of you, and some that I didn’t mention, for helping me to find myself. It’s a journey every woman needs to take, even if it’s kicking and screaming – which yes, I’ve done that too. Thank you for the love, acceptance, lessons, and humanity.
***We. Are. One.***