I have this amazing friend who is kind, generous, and loyal in a way so few people are loyal. She is the woman who will always come to your rescue, who will always be there for you, who will stick by you no matter what crazy things you say or do in France, on the phone, in the summer, while driving through Aix en Provence looking for a bathroom.
And when you need her, she will pack her kids in the car and your kids in the car and cook people chicken nuggets or pizza, all while feeding a dog and answering emails for work and helping her daughter bake cupcakes.
There are not many people like that in this world, and if you find someone with that kind of loyalty and generosity and beauty, you don’t take it for granted, hear?
I’m not sure how she got the way she is, whether she learned how to be that way or if it’s just her essence, or both. But her mom let her down real bad when she was younger, because her mom got terribly sick and depressed, and couldn’t come out of it. Her mom was vibrant and gorgeous and smart as hell, but she didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, or a feeling of inner value, and she thought she was nothing without a man. And so her mom took her life when my friend was a teenager, and that left my amazing friend unmoored for a very long time, trying to make sense of life and love, trying to move on after experiencing the biggest abandonment of her life.
Women need strong mothers, and men need strong mothers, and so do little boys and little girls, too.
But we don’t really live in a world that honors and values strong mothers. And mothers are struggling, trying to figure out what to do.
We may pay motherhood lip-service. But put your money where your mouth is, America, and put your actions behind what you value, and you’ll see that our respect for mothers keeps coming up short, over and over again, in this large world. We don’t honor the brilliance and magnificence of a woman who grows a human being in her body and then pushes that creature out, and then gathers everything up and starts working at an office or running a business and cooking everyone dinner while her breasts are dripping.
But women, God bless them, keep choosing to have kids anyway. Women keep putting their families first. Women keep putting their needs on the back burner because they love so fiercely and so loyally that they don’t know any other way, and they navigate and dance in these two alternate worlds, and they try to find a way forward, and they’re the rocks holding up the foundation of our entire existence, and yet they get little or no recognition for all the power they have. They don’t ask for it, either. They just keep doing their duty, standing behind the scenes.
And it’s time, my friends, for mothers to rise up.
It’s time for mothers to own their own voices, and to own their own souls, and to stop prostituting their bodies and their dreams and their minds to the highest bidder, and to instead stand in the vitality and beauty of their essence and their power and know themselves well and fight for themselves and their daughters.
We can’t hand the world over to our daughters, the way it is now.
NoSiree. Nope. Not gonna have it.
And let me tell you the kind of world our daughters are seeing, if we women, we strong mothers, don’t start taking a stand.
1 in 5 women is raped. 1 in 3 women is a victim of sexual violence.
51% of women are raped by an intimate partner.
91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female.
90% of sexual assault victims don’t report the assault.
And sons are victimized, too, and may have an even harder time reporting, because it is terribly uncool to be a vulnerable man.
Women walk around feeling, by the way, like their bodies are not their own, like they can’t own their words, that their purpose in even having a body and mind is to attract a man who will love and desire them. And men often believe this, too, even though they don’t want to, and even though they ache to see a woman they love not feel empowered or embodied.
Women give up, they give in, they hand so much of their power away. They don’t know how not to. They haven’t been effectively taught.
None of us, men or women, have witnessed enough mentors and models who have done anything different, and so we mimic and copy what we’ve seen and who we know, and we rarely take the time to uncover and live into the power inside us.
And a lot of our mothers have let us down.
They didn’t want to. They didn’t mean to. They just didn’t have the capacity to do any better. They didn’t have the time. They didn’t have the resources. They didn’t have the confidence. They didn’t grow up in a climate where other women and men would fight for them, because those women who needed to be a support system were maybe broke, or beaten, or trapped, or abandoned.
And so the only way forward, my friends, is for us women to become the mothers and the women we didn’t get to see. We need to embody the New Woman. This is not a woman who is imitating a man, or abiding stupid patriarchal ideas of worldly success.
This Woman Just Is.
She is Mercurial. She is Bold. She is Full of flavor.
She is Brave. She is Outspoken. She is Deep and Wise.
This Woman has Substance.
This woman is not top-heavy, trying to intellectualize her life or yours, thinking her accolades are what makes her who she is. She is not the car she drives, the clothing store she shops at, the “diet” she’s on, the yoga poses she can do. She’s not sidetracked by stupid stuff.
She’s a Woman of Presence.
She’s a Woman who walks in the room and makes everybody ponder, because they haven’t seen anything like this woman before.
She doesn’t play the game. She doesn’t listen to the rules.
She is her own, see.
She belongs to nobody else.
And yet, she loves wildly, freely, and is full of warmth.
She is shrewd when she needs to be, smarter than anybody knows. She’ll surprise you.
She is healthy, full of vitality.
She speaks with depth, her voice as rich as earth. She is egoless, yet filled with confidence and passion.
She does not sell any piece of herself to make a buck. She finds a way around that. Because baby, this woman has faith like you wouldn’t believe, and when you have faith, that mountain you’re looking at can fall right into the sea. There are no words called “boulders.”
This is the woman who creates the world my daughters are going to inherit. And I’m not looking for her to appear on my doorstep, or in the limelight, in the form of somebody else. This woman is me. She is me and me and me and me and me and me and me and me and me and me and me.
And I’m not limiting myself for anyone. I’m not curtailing my dreams or my essence to please any fucking person or group of people. Because I know who I am.
And damn, I am so full of love and abundance.
I’m so hot you may be scared to touch me.
But I don’t hurt. I don’t bite.
I’m practically God incarnate.
Remove the practical.
And I embody this in every space I walk into, not out of anger, or egomania. I simply inhabit me. Not someone’s idea of me. Not the rules of who I’m supposed to be. Just me.
Brilliant, wise, bold.
Jana. That’s spelled J-A-N-A.
And this body, honey? It’s mine. It’s mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine.
This is what I’m teaching to boys and to girls, about themselves, about the power they have within them.
You should, too.