What happens when your inner warrior gets drafted
🔥 Saying yes to a world of unapologetic women
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Rather than tell the year what it’s going to be I prefer to use the deep, quiet dark of mid-winter to listen for what’s to come. But that’s not to say that resolve isn’t part of the picture. The sense I get of 2023 is that life is inviting me into more gentleness and demanding that I become more fierce.
December was a deep descent for me. A month of being undone. It was also a powerful initiation. The month began with an intense experience that resulted in physical illness. As I emerged from the acute phase two things were crystal clear:
My life is sacred
It’s time to do what is necessary to protect it
At forty-six there is a combination of anger and grief that 1.) a commitment to self-protection is necessary in this life and 2.) that I’m only just now getting to it.
Those of us who were raised female, raised Christian, raised to be good girls, were generally taught to look out for everyone else but ourselves. Which makes adulthood a long and challenging road of disentangling from co-dependency, learning how to set boundaries, and discovering who you actually are under all that obedience and people-pleasing. If you were parentified (expected to care for your caregivers) and/or grew up in a traumatic environment, the journey from self-abandonment to self-protection can be even more challenging.
For me it’s been challenging. It’s taken me decades to get to the point where I’m willing to “carry a sword” as in, be prepared to protect myself from harm, slice through bullshit, call things what they are, and do what it takes defend this sacred life—both mine and others.
So as 2023 begins I’m experiencing the grief, rage, resistance, and resolve of embracing the warrior aspect of self that all women need but are so consistently denied. As I do, I’m remembering a poem which I’d like to share with you as we step into the new year.
In this big family that is humanity I know the more that any one of us succeeds in being ourselves the more we can all dare to be ourselves. Everyone deserves to live a sovereign and fulfilling life and I want that for all of us, whatever our gender. And we live in a culture that teaches girls and women to apologize for what they want, for taking up space, for how their bodies look, for existing. So I hold a vision of a world of unapologetic women.
I believe poetry is a song that is meant to be heard as well as read. A poem is a journey for the senses, not just the mind. I invite you to experience me reading this one to you. You can listen here:
Unapologetic I want to live in a world of unapologetic women. A world where women have nothing to prove, and command respect simply by entering the room. I want to live in a world where women are boldly vocal and unflinchingly honest-- where it’s normal to speak their truth and be heard. A world where women know what they want and pursue it unhindered, unconcerned about accusations like “selfish” “bossy” or “brazen.” I want to live in a world where women are safe. Where every woman knows her body is holy ground and will be honored as such. I want to live in a world where women are rich, where compensation is not a question and mothers have everything they need to care for their children and then some. A world where a woman’s worth is measured by the standards of her choosing and nothing else. And where her choosing is kind. I want to live in a world where women are uncensored-- where they are as fierce as they need to be and as sweet as they want to be-- without fear, and without apology. A world where women are expected to love themselves. A world where women are expected to celebrate their intelligence, their talents. A world where they are expected to cherish their bodies. I want to live in a world where women are expected to care for their bodies--their actual, tangible, as-they-are bodies, not how their body appears to others. A world where women wear everything they want and nothing they don’t want. Where their feet are comfortable, their pants have pockets, and their breasts are free to be themselves. I want to live in a world where women are loved lavishly, fully met by their beloveds, with devotion that equals or exceeds their own. I want to live in a world of unapologetic women. I want this world so much I will become her. --Kai Madrone April 2019
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