Guest post by Sarah Marriott
At 36, I am still finding my own design, my own womanhood. I am still discovering parts of the blueprint that have been marred by hurt, experience, culture and my own actions. Every day another bit of the design is redeemed.
I have been weak and afraid. I have lacked the ability to speak up for myself. I have also been stubborn and fearless and stood over others in my oppressing victories. I have been cowardly and stood by while hurt was inflicted and I have been courageous and stood for justice when it was dangerous for me to do so.
I have looked at the mirror in shame, doubt and discouragement as the mirror became a beacon of all of my “not good enough” bits. I have also run my fingers along the loose skin of my belly to feel the stretch marks that reveal my strength and my capacity to touch creation itself. I have admired the little lines beginning to grow at the edges of my eyes revealing this lifetime of laughable moments.
I have dressed to be noticed. I have dressed to hide. I have wielded my femininity, my sexuality like a weapon of destruction. I have felt its power and lorded that power over whoever I could. I have also been used, abused and wounded and had my own sexuality wielded against me as though it didn’t belong to me at all.
I have held the hands and the hips of countless women as they brought new life into the world. I have watched them in all their strength plead to give up, swear, cry, and bear silently this act of incredible pain and indescribably joy. I have sat with women as they learned that this would not be their path to motherhood and watched them lift their chins with the very same strength and grow in their womanhood another way.
I am not ashamed to say that there is a steadfast and strong man behind every bit of greatness I might ever hope to achieve. I will give credit where it is due.
I have raised a son of whom I am so proud. He is strong, smart, gentle and generous with his compassion.
I am raising four girls who could not be more different. One is wild and nonconforming, facing her insecurities with an admirable and stubborn confidence. Another is so strong and so brave, though she does not yet see those things in herself. She loves fast and deeply. The next is passionate. She will fight you until she wins if she thinks she is right, but she will cry with you no matter what your tears are for and keep aching for you when your tears run out. Another is soft and sweet and sassy. She is patient and steeped in creativity. She sees the world in different colours than I do.
Every one of these girls, these young women captures this idea of “womanhood” in a different light and teaches me more of what it means to grow into our own design.
I am woman.
Hear me roar, but also hear me cry, hear me encourage, hear me whine, hear me lead, hear my silence, and hear me sing.