As a young child, I would go door to door selling pictures I had drawn or cookies I stole out of the cookie jar at home. I was acutely aware of my economic status as a 4 year old little girl. I was channeling my inner Rick Ross (HUSTLE REAL HARD, HUSTLE HUSTLE REAL HARD).
My mom will sometimes recall a story from a few years after my cookie peddling days. When I was 8. We were sitting in the waiting room at the Doctors office and saw an older couple, they were moving slow but helping each other get up and put their coats on. I looked at my mom and said “that’s what life is all about, isn’t it mom?”
Love. That’s what it’s all about – says my 8 year old self; and the woman I am today.
I often felt out of place among my peers. I couldn’t understand their trials and tribulations. I longed for adulthood – yet, when I got there, I never truly felt grown up.
Can you feel like you have lived a million lives yet never feel like an adult? Is pain a catalyst to walking through life with a little more ease?
Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day. So, I spent some time reflecting on that little lady I once was – the broken pieces and the evolution of self that comes from all of it.
My dad spoke at a small dinner Iggy and I had after we eloped. 2 years later he spoke at his funeral. He told me later that he never really considered me a woman until he watched how I handled myself in the wake of my husband’s passing. Not when I was married, not when we started our business while juggling a home renovation. He is heartbroken to watch his youngest daughter suffer but it is compounded by the fact he has to face, she is a grown ass woman.
Here’s the thing – the peaks in life are great. The graduations, engagements, weddings, the births, those serendipitous moments. Those milestones or life’s pleasant surprises are what make us strive. Without the late night studying, the compromises, those difficult communications and day to day struggles those milestones just don’t have as much stock. The peak of the mountain is not where we find our growth – it’s the rooted climb to the top that makes the view spectacular.
Of course, the pillar of womanhood isn’t how much you have hurt or how hard you hustle but the way in which you handle any of the blessing and obstacles we have thrown into our path daily.
You can’t be resilient if you avoid vulnerability. A woman I adore greatly helped me explore this notion last week. It stuck and I was reminded of the capacity we have as women to be so much of both.
That’s what gets lost on the way up the mountain. Being a woman is being both. It means putting on many hats. It’s stepping a foot on a path that aligns with you. It means hustling hard to get those cookie sales. It’s being touched by the love between life partners.
So, in reflection of International Women’s Day I will leave you with my greatest lesson of this year. The top of the mountain is abundant but it’s vulnerability that strengthens you and leads you to the peak.
“To all the ladies in the place with style and grace.” – Biggie