I close my eyes, but sleep will not come. There are voices in my head. Her voices. Vibrant, sad, urgent, passionate. She wants to be heard. She has a pained smile, a fearless gaze, softened by the love in her heart.
There is understanding in her eyes.
Her hair is sometimes covered, sometimes blue, sometimes curly, sometimes straight, sometimes in braids.
Here is one with a faceless presence. I try to give her a face, but a colourful pattern is superimposed on her features. So I let her face go, and seek out her spirit instead.
Her journey is a mosaic of fear. Of joy. Of courage. Of setbacks. Of hope. Of resilience. Of triumphs won through grit and tears. These are glued on by truths or lies, chords that tie her down or wings that buoy her soar.
Who, is she?
Twenty days ago, I did not know of her existence. But here she is. A crowd in my head, a joyful sisterhood. She is in search of herself, she is in search of her future. Hers, and that of the generations she carries with her.
She is building freedom. Freedom from fear. From oppression. From abuse. From poverty in all its forms. This freedom too is for others too weak to fight, even babies yet to be born.
She is building freedom, and she has come together. Full of purpose, conviction, vision, hope. She is an army marching on towards the future she envisions. And she brings others along.
Look, they are gathered for coffee. Hear their chatter. See the light in their eyes. Drink in the camaraderie and catch their energy. But what are they doing in my head?
“Would you like to sit? Here, I got you coffee,” offers a bright eyed princess. I look at her puzzled. Does she not know?
“I am sorry,” I say. “I never did care much for coffee. But I will, sit down.For I find this company more energising, than the strongest brew on earth!” With a wink, she moves her coat to make room for me. As I sink myself beside her, she is no longer a stranger, and I finally fall asleep with warmth in my heart.
But I see her again in my sleep. Bent over. Misunderstood. Humiliated. Desperate and lonely. Hiding in fear. Fear for her safety and that of her children, her world. Fear of being known, of knowing too much. And fear of her ambition, her potential, what she might accomplish.
Who, will nurture her?
She’s living in conflict. Afraid of the shadows that obscure her, and of the light that would consume them and set her free. She looks back anxiously, and ahead in hope. I wish to hold her hand and walk her to the light. Her light. Our light.
Who, will reassure her?
She has won a hundred victories and suffered a thousand losses. But she won. Because she is courageous! Because she is a gently flowing river, refreshing, calming, sheltering life within her. This life she nurtures, even with bruised hands and a heart bleeding from innumerable wounds.
Who, will comfort her?
She has been celebrated. She has been ignored. She has been pushed down and left in a corner. But she has a power greater than her fears.
For her name is beautiful. Her name is victorious. Her name is compassionate. Her name is strength. Her name is worthy of dignity and wealth and recognition and rest. Rest from violence and terror and injustice. Rest from her lonely, arduous struggles.
But, does she know?
Does she know that she is not her environment? That she is not her past? That she is not her mistakes? That she is not her hurt? That she is not the apathy that meets her quest to be heard, to be free, to be whole?
Does she know she is loved? That she is worthy of love? That it is not her fault that she was exploited, abused and abandoned?
Does she know that she is not less than? That she can heal?
Does she know she might win? That she can win? That she will win?
I believe that she knows in a way because, although bruised and wounded in the battlefield, she is here—speaking.
She is digging deep in her past to inform her present—growing.
She is creating opportunities for others to step up—building.
She is petitioning governments for change—standing.
She is reaching out with compassion and empathy—nurturing.
And she is present. Present. PRESENT! Engaged, she is engaging.
Have you, read from her?
In this shared space, she may write a thousand stories, she may write none. But she is writing a story, the story in her heart. And she, is here.
Do you, see her?
Then, walk with her. Join her journey and be the tribe holding her hand and igniting the story in her heart, for her to rise. Until she rises.
Until then, do, see, her.
As water reflects a face so a person’s heart reflects the person.
Giver her the reward she has earned, and let her work bring her praise at the city gates.
This story was inspired by the above proverbs, and by reading the genuine stories of some the beautiful women at World Pulse. I hope that you found a bit of you in a word, a phrase, even in the pauses in between.
“For comfort and care, one must depend on others.” Michael John Cusick
Keep caring, keep comforting.
With love and care,