I grew up reciting a theme each week that starts like this:
"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us . . ."
That statement has come to be a fact I rely on; that propels me through good times and hard times. It has become so much a part of what I believe that it's hard for me to distinguish it from other facets of my beliefs. I believe that every woman is a daughter of a Divine Being who has endowed her with His same qualities and powers.
When I gave birth to Ada, she was whisked away before I got to hold her. As I watched the screaming gray-purple-pink being get passed off from gloved-hand to gloved-hand I remember thinking, The world is open to her. I thought back to that dark ultrasound room where we first found out we were having a girl and I realized that what grew within me was a being of infinite potential. And not only that, but she was being born in a time and a place where she could choose any opportunity she wanted. This thought came back to me as I sat in my hospital bed while the room seemed to move in slow motion. I also remembered in that instant, that I too am in a place where I have limitless choices.
When she was placed in my arms and I felt her warm body against mine, I realized that she is made up of divine essence that is uniquely woman. She came from a Heavenly Father who formed her spirit after His, passing his limitlessness to her in the written code of her biological make-up.
This is the genesis of all women.
All women have a heritage of strength and beauty because the heritage of women is strong and beautiful.
Woman is innately wise. She is an innate seeker. She is an innate believer (in whatever her beliefs may be). Woman is made of of the stuff that compels conviction and corners capability. Woman is resilient. Woman is clever enough to find whatever she is looking for. She can listen. She can capture truth. She can choose to live and walk in paths that may not have been walked before. She can see. She can change. She can pair herself with God.
She is not less than, or more than, the next woman (or man). The habit of comparing her to other women (or men) cheapens the entity that is uniquely her. She is her own. And she is also others'.
She can fight against intolerance, exploitation and injustice. She can heal from intolerance, exploitation and injustice. She can help others heal. She can create. She can destroy. She can work. She can find satisfaction in her work. She can do many, many, many things.
Because she comes from an infinite being who gave her everything He has.
She is part of a sisterhood of women who feel empowered when they are helping other women recall that which is exclusively theirs. She helps lift, inspire, carry, comfort, encourage and love.
I believe that each woman is in the process of defining and redefining exactly what womanhood means to her. It goes without saying that this experience (and the conclusions drawn from it) are different for every woman. But each has the right to find joy in her own femininity and identity. Because Woman is not only endowed with power, but also with joy.
That is what I believe about women. And this is why I find joy in my womanhood.