Ain’t I a Woman?

During the month of March women all around the world celebrate womanhood. All that it is and all that it’ll never be. As fluid as womanhood is to me, I find it perplexing that one month out of the year, women attempt to do the very things we ought to do daily–celebrate one another. Yet and still we don’t, won’t or can’t. There’s too much money to be made by our degrading one another and while it never reaches our pockets, we continue to feed the beast that profits. . . The truth about being a woman is that we are, always have been and unfortunately always will be, more than the world is ready for. . . perhaps.

Society profits off of man-made social categories and fluid, ever-changing norms that define, constrain and manipulate us into hating one another, ourselves and our womanhood.

On May 29, in 1851 Sojourner Truth, speaking truth from her heart with words with no title, said, “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

Yet and still, we’re pushed to march, sing, clean and dance, birth babies and please men, but it’ll never be enough. I’ve come to learn it’s simply because we’re aiming to please a society of people who are not to be pleased and/or it is not our jobs to do the pleasing. . . . A land filled with some people who will never say we’re enough or that we’re equal or that we’re worthy.

Now, one may argue that men are the problem, but my sister, let me tell you, it is you and it is me. It is us. It is the way in which we carry on with one another. . . we don’t want to be equals do we?

I posed this question to a group of young women attending an empowerment symposium I led a little while ago and they all sat in deep thought. Some readily prepared to answer and others quite perplexed. I went on, “Really ask yourself before you attempt to answer me. I don’t even want an answer to be honest. I want you to look into the depth of your being and tell me if you want to be equals with other women. Not the girlfriend sitting next to you, or your favorite celebrity, but women. Period.” I didn’t wait on a reply, I didn’t need one. I know the truth. I’ve seen it. It shows up in the way we look at one another in the grocery store, the way we watch one another flirt with men, the way we default to men and the way we support the systems that pull us further apart.

This women’s history month, I wanted to do more about how I felt, than talk about it. So, this blog post serves as a small testament to my own commitment to sisterhood and women empowerment. I made a vow to support the sisters next to me and around me, whether they’re mine or not. I likewise want to challenge other women to do the same. Some of the smallest acts of kindness and solidarity make all of the difference. What a shame that women supporting women, isn’t just a thing. It’s almost embarrassing. Men do it–abide by the bro code. Why don’t we hold one another up or down, whichever you prefer, in the same way? I know we can. We choose not to. That has to change.

I love like you, cry like you, hurt like you, fight like you, play like you, laugh like you. Fall like you, overcome like you, birth like you, build like you, mess up like you. . . I am passionate, happy, sad, depressed, growing, learning, pushing, striving, providing, like you. I am versatile like you, lonely like you, loved like you, caught up like you, dressed up like you, dressed down like you. I have scars like you, trauma like you, secrets like you, burdens like you. Ain’t I a woman?

Before we can vow to love and help advance one another, we must first see one another as worthy. I don’t have to know you to see you, in all your glory. In all your imperfections. In all your need for improvement. Sometimes the great thing about truly seeing another person is that you see things they don’t see. Sometimes the hard thing about truly seeing another person is that you see things they don’t see. Some of ya’ll may need to read that part again :).

I hope as women we can some day get to a place where we love on women in general the same we do our dearest friends. I know we won’t all be friends and that’s okay too. I root for people I don’t know all the time. But the support, the regard, the acknowledgement and the intent can be present. It can be kind. It can be consistent. Universal sisterhood is a possibility & if you’re not a woman willing to help all women get there, you ought to stop telling your daughters they can be the president of the United States. Stop encouraging them to join sororities. Don’t send them to women’s colleges or have them join girl scouts or encourage them to consider male dominated fields. Sisterhood is a critical component to the advancement of women. Not just personally, but professionally, socially, mentally and emotionally too. If I’m rooting for you, and you’re rooting for me, we can win together. But when I’m on my way, and you pull me down with your words, your actions, by turning the other cheek or otherwise, I fail. And you fail with me. I likewise force failure upon you when I refuse to root for, uplift, assist, support, or contribute to your advancement.

I’ve had some of the most amazing opportunities as a human being, student, professional and 9/10 of them were because of another woman. The one that birthed me, the ones that keep me lifted, the ones who write my recommendation letters, the ones who taught me, the ones who make me laugh, pick me up, console me, fight for me, share with me, pour in to me. I am who I am and where I am because of their individual and collective support.

The truth about being a woman is that we are, always have been and unfortunately always will be, more than the world is ready for. . . perhaps. But I’d love for us to be more, together β™₯.

Happy Women’s History Month!

2 thoughts on “Ain’t I a Woman?

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