A few years ago, my friend’s daughter reached the age deemed by her culture as the threshold of womanhood. Because their family is scattered, she asked her friends to stand in for the aunties and grannies and offer their wisdom about what it means to be a woman. It was an honor which made me think. What does being a woman mean?
Given the times, that awareness seems even more apropos.
The wisdom of women has been distilled over many silent centuries, and yet we need to gather it still. I hope that as you read this letter, you add in your own wisdom.
I have been blessed by the women who came before me: my mother and grandmothers, their mothers and grandmothers, the women in the public eye and the women whose names have been forgotten. Not perfect icons or saints, but women who lived their lives as best they could.
We share this fine heritage.
This is what they have taught me about being a woman:
It is complicated.
You will hold the wellbeing of many people you know and do not yet know in your hands because the hands of a woman can be strong and safe.
You will want someone to rescue you, but often you must just get on with it and rescue yourself.
You will be underestimated but that should add to your resolve, not take away from it.
You can make miracles with your mind, heart and hard work.
Sometimes you will fail.
Sometimes you will achieve.
Sometimes you will draw on the strength of generations and amaze even yourself.
Your life will have many, many choices and I hope that you make the ones that are the best for you and others too.
It is better to be kind than to win. It is better to be kind than smart. It is better to be kind.
When you have become old and worn, I hope that you look back on your life and know with surety that the world is better because you were born.