On my wall, there is a postcard from Elizabeth Warren that reads, in her flourish, “We persist!”. It was given to me by a mentor as a reminder for my journey. Remember, she told me. We must always persist. However difficult it gets, we must persist. Because being a woman is a journey of persistence: in waking up and turning up at any given place; in making oneself heard amidst the cacophony of male voices screaming no, no, no; in making a seat for oneself at the head of the table that has no place for a woman’s contour; in being oneself without the relational self (daughter, mother, wife).
We must persist, because we still live in a world that is not comfortable with equality between men and women.
We must persist, because we make up 49.558% of humanity and if we decide to, we can turn the world on its head.
“The struggle for equality continues unabated, and the woman warrior who is armed with wit and courage will be among the first to celebrate victory.”
My mother, in one of her first lessons to me as her only girl-child, says, never be afraid of your own power. You will be asked, time and time again, to reconsider your position, to hide behind your femininity, to apologise for your presence, to choose a path that many others before you were forced into. You will be asked, time and time again, to hide behind anonymity, to doubt your ideals and beliefs, to wonder whether it will be easier to succumb. Each time you are asked to take a step back, square your shoulders and move ahead. Never be afraid of your own power, she told me. Never be afraid.
“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
A text message from my god-mother: Fight the good fight. You were a born a woman to do so.