~ By Jennifer Johnson, Empowerment 4 Girls Board President
Left to right: Claudia, Grace, Jennifer, Iris
Women who danced just enough...
I come from a long line of womxn that did what was needed to survive and thrive in the times that birthed them. Womxn that planted trees for shade, grew flowers to attract pollinators, harvested grapes before making wine. Women who danced just enough while the soup simmered all while caring for their neighbors’ children so that other women could thrive, nourished by the salty soup of community.
These humble heroines marked their houses in secret as safe places for travelers needing food, while humming a little gospel under their breath. They dressed their salads with eggs and salt, smelled of rising bread every Sunday, held my green eyes with their green eyes, honoring the power and pain that a woman must endure in her lifetime, no matter the time of life. They talked about God as an active force for good, healing, nature and compassion. They talked about God as he but allowed all of the questions from a child certain that god is a she and a me and a we.
Power with the softness of warm bread...
The womxn of my lineage wielded their power with the softness of warm bread, powdered cheeks and moistened lips. They led their lives as leaders of their families and their communities and though I may be the only one that remembers their names as we celebrate Womxn’s Herstory, they are my herstory, and I am a continuation of their generous lives, mighty and small. Viola, Grace, Roberta, Gertrude, Paula...they lift me on their backs, ancestors to my kin, holy in their simplicity.
My womxn taught me that prayer is an act of love, that abuse can be forgiven but never tolerated and most importantly to read, rest and listen as though my life depended on the ability to read, rest and listen. Their creative life force continues to feed my own creative life force and I teach my daughter that abuse bears no responsibility but to the abuser, that forgiveness is an act of love that is given only by free will and that reading, resting, listening and feeding oneself is self-care. Self-care is the way that we as womxn, descending unbroken from this long line of hard-working, gospel-humming, hip-swaying womxn, survive and thrive.
Everyday of our lives, may we give thanks to the womxn that birthed us, raised us, become us.
Use the search bar to search our database for resources and events.
Join the Tribe