It comes all of a sudden. Without notice. Without warning.
After years of absorbing what a woman should be, could be, ought to be. After decades of agitating to be heard just a bit better, seen just a bit clearer, listened to just a bit longer… it comes.
It is the moment you know that you are a Woman and that to be a Woman is, in itself, extraordinary. You can do what no man can. You can survive better, think faster, love harder and worship deeper. You can know the unknowable, do the the unthinkable, create the impossible. As Rumi said, “Woman is the radiance of God”, she illuminates the world and brings her lustre with her, wherever she goes.
It is the moment which brings the deep and complete understanding that, however you are, you are a Woman and that is enough – no further explanations, justifications or interpretations are necessary.
For every woman, the context around this moment of realisation will be different, personal. For me, my moment coincided with the birth of my second child, not my first, and I will never be certain of the spiritual alchemy which brought about this clarity – only that it gave me an exquisitely empowering before and after. For others, their moment may have been connected to their first experience of financial independence, of speaking out when it was tough to do so, of righting a wrong or finding a tribe.
It will not be the same for you as it was for me and it won’t be the same for my daughter as it was for my mother but the moment will come. It may come early in life or it may come later – but as soon as it arrives, everything begins to change and we see the world anew.
We no longer tolerate being made to feel second-rate “just” for being a woman. We no longer apologise for things that aren’t our fault nor temper strong opinions so as not to disturb fragile egos. We won’t feel less worthy for bodies that take up actual space or voices that make actual noise – raise real questions and make true meaning. We start to embrace the strength of hands that hold and hearts which bleed. Our moment polishes away self-imposed limitations, begins the work of unlearning the harms we’ve internalised and shows us how we sparkle and shine – and oh, how we shine!
On this International Women’s Day, share with us your own moment as we salute all women – luminous, radiating, strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Image Credit: All photographs by Abdul Malik, taken at the International Women’s Day Rally in the city of Edmonton, Canada