We live in a world where women break each other's knees. Obviously not literally, but in the world today, I've seen and heard women verbally or emotionally gunning others down more than a few times. I'm not throwing all us women under the bus, hear me out, in the past handful of years, I've seen and experienced such healthy women friendships that are so completely for one another.
In the cover photo is my friend, Victoria. We had the opportunity to have a blast with some other friends taking pictures (which I'm excited to show more pictures later). At the start of it, Victoria and I were totally goofing around and shouting about being each other's hype-woman. "Yaaaas girl, Tyra would be so proud". And we were hype women-cheering and affirming each other as the evening progressed. Within a pause of the photoshoot, I asked her if I had any makeup smudges around my eyes, because yo girl wears cheapo eyeliner on certain occasions and it almost always smudges. And usually when it does no ones says a thing (because sometimes it can be awkward to mention) and allows a black hole of an eyeliner smudge to just chill for all to see. Victoria graciously helped guide me on where to clean up around my eyes.
I wonder how often do we as women do that? How often do we actually help/encourage/compliment/affirm, especially when it comes to expecting nothing in return? When is the last time you walked past a woman you've never met and complimented her? How about this: when is the last time you complimented on something non-physical? I don't know about you ladies, but a good hair day compliment usually dies along with the good hair day. But the "you have such a beautiful heart, the way you genuinely want to get to know people makes them feel loved and seen", oh man that compliment will have me on cloud nine for months, possibly years. And it took 5 seconds.
I want to be a woman that raises up other women. That makes them feel like they can do _________. That helps them see they do in fact have a voice, even if it's quiet and gentle. That they have a purpose. That they have power to make change happen: in their lives, in their family relationships, in countless lives around them, and in that dream they let die in their heart. I'm not naive, I know I can't put band-aids on the broken knees and expect it to be all better, but I can help guide women into cleaning up their smudged eyeliner with gentle words and affirmation. In time, perhaps they will invite the right women to help them heal those blown out knees. I can be genuinely for them with no expectations for anything to be said or done in return. I already got the affirmation I need from Jesus, anything else is just bonus. I want to be a woman that straightens other ladies' crowns without anyone else knowing it was crooked in the first place. Vulnerability that is safeguarded is too rare, help me change that ladies.
To the women out there who had their knees broken multiple times by the words or actions of other women: I'm sorry.
To the woman who growing up had a mom (dad, guardian, etc.) say she was never going to amount to anything or anyone- I'm sorry.
To the woman who was rejected by girls in school (or just in general)- I'm sorry.
To the woman who was teased about her weight- I'm sorry.
To the woman who has started believing the joke "stay in the kitchen" after it was repeated one too many times- I'm sorry.
Ladies, I've had my fair share of beatings to my knees from other women. There is healing. There is hope. There is more. Help me be the change. How? By championing 2-8 ladies around you: be there for them, guard their heart as they are authentic, check in on them, ask them the hard questions (when you get permission to do so), tell them truth in love. And then speak compliments/affirmation into a couple other ladies each day, whether stranger or friend.
Healed people, heal people.
You are a woman who believes the best in others. You are a woman who does not hold back compliments or affirmation, even to strangers (even when it feels awkward or makes you nervous). You are a woman who straightens those crowns and helps tidy up those makeup smudges, without the rest of the room knowing it was done. You are a hype-woman to all others. You are a woman of grace and vigor, and you choose what is right, even when it is the hardest option. To the lady reading this: yes, I'm talking to you, I am for you. Even if we haven't spoken in years, or maybe we talk weekly, I'm for you.