East Meets West: To All the Woman in my Life

For Elenoare :

East Van gives good graffiti, ranging from “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card” or “Talk to strangers, sin with purpose”, yet the one which elicited the deepest stirring in me, simply and eloquently put  “To the woman in my life, you are everything”. Hastily scrawled Sharpie musings rarely elicit more than a chuckle from me, but this one, which stopped me in my tracks and winded me- is another thing entirely.  

The palpable shift of the patriarchy being challenged in the past few years has garnered more and more attention, support, anger, unification, and love. Challenging grossly outdated notions of “boys will be boys” and the reductive and reducing stereotypes and misconceptions put on women.  I cannot imagine being void of the mélange of expressive, intelligent, curious, passionate, driven, flawed, evolving, deeply loving women in my life.  

I’m learning how to be a better woman to women and for women (Cis, transgender and non-binary inclusive when I say, woman). As we observe International Women’s Day, all the work that has been done, all that’s still taking place, I implore others, just as I remind myself, to try a little tenderness. We’re all feeling pretty weary these days in one form or another.


To all the woman in my life, you are everything.

To all the woman in my life; I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the times that I disappointed you, betrayed you. When my own insecurity and ego left me flush in embarrassment and spurned less than noble acts toward or vehemently against you. When I allowed the infection of comparison to fester and colour my perception and interactions with you, desperately attempting to deflect the ugly pox marks of my personality I’m sure all could see.

I’m sorry for the things I said behind your back, adding to the harmonizing of negativity that lends itself to the chorus of shame you have echoing inside your head and heart. To rob you of your accomplishments or wounds because my scars burned too brightly with pain so I could not hold space for you.  To not tell you that I just couldn’t at the moment not that I didn’t care.

Because I do care. I care that you think you’re bad, or wrong or stupid or disrespectful to yourself. Or worst of all, when you believe that it’s acceptable to continue to give penance for a debt that was never yours to pay.

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To all the woman in my life, rise.

Rise. Step into the magnificence that you feel throbbing in your chest so profoundly that it jolts you out of deep sleep, waking in a cold sweat. Rise and meet the day, the moments of your life, with such assurance in what you think and feel and create and love and weep for, knowing, deeply knowing their extreme worthiness. That you are worthy. You are worthy.  You will claim for yourself your path so adamantly, walking, stomping, dancing upon it with footprints so distinctly yours that the notion of questioning you as its originator, rendered absurd.

And most importantly, rise after you have tripped and found yourself jarred and shaken by the sheer effects of gravity which challenges you to stay horizontal, crumpled under the weight of expectations either real or imaginary. Rise to show yourself that above all you can.

To all the woman in my life; thank you.

Thank you for demonstrating and celebrating that womanhood and femininity are in constant flux, encompassing more and more illustrious ways to showcase power and expressiveness in a glorious array of forms.

Thank you for tenderness and ferociousness walking in tandem. For beauty, sensuality and lush magnetism posed on the tip of a tongue coaxing tides to turn in a few syllables. For protecting one another while vanquishing foes, of the internal and external nature, repairing and soothing the multitude of clever and vicious wounds.

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Thank you, above all, for your resilience. For entreating one another to continue, knowing damn well it won’t be easy, but that support is imminent and unconditional.

To all the woman in my life, you are everything.

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