This is a tribute.
To the girl.
The girl behind the woman. (Take a moment and go back there with me. Guys, too!)
In her captivating innocence.
Her ability to be consumed by a single moment.
So present it seems she is in another world.
A world far beyond the stale dimensions of our own.
Void of barriers and expectations.
Simply being is enough.
Then the girl is pulled back to reality by the deceptive whispers of society.
Calling her attention, pulled in every direction by the strings of this world.
Slowly losing her ability to remain aloft.
She is grounded, but this is simply a masked term meaning complacency and habit.
Until one day, she finds the scissors she’s been holding this whole time.
Contagious freedom that inspires others.
To dream big.
To live larger.
To the girl.
Click on the picture or scroll through to hear the amazing stories of some of the beautiful women who have impacted my life by their womanhood.
“I recognize that my privilege and supportive upbringing have offered me countless opportunities to reach limitless potential. Media, perfectionist culture, views of success, fear of being ‘too much’ have all hindered me from stepping into my power.” – Ruby
“I express my womanhood through nurturing everyone around me. I love being of service and caring for people through listening, cooking, and giving my time. I love to dance! And I feel very womanly when I’m dancing. I’ve gained a lot of feminine power simply by touching my body more— I rub my forearms, touch my belly, put my hand on my chest— every day! And I tell my body ‘I love you’” – Ruby
“My favorite part of being a woman is the capacity to be strong and soft. And the camaraderie and love of the female community.” – Ruby
“I want to be able to walk outside and tell the first woman I see—any woman— my story and for her to say ‘I see you. I hear you. I believe you. How can I support you?’” – Ruby
I have always struggled with loving the way I look. I used to try to DESPITE my flaws, but I have learned it is possible BECAUSE of my flaws. – Alli
Once us ladies realize that we are beautiful, not in comparison to someone else or in comparison to how well we match up to this socially constructed standard the media and people around us are constantly screaming at us, we can finally just be ourselves. Not only do we become physically free to express ourselves, but mentally free and we can learn to love ourselves and then to love others better. – Alli
When we can learn to see that everyone around us is beautiful, because of their unique story, because of their freckles or lack there of, because of their big legs or small legs, dark skin or light skin, crooked teeth or straight, curves or none at all, big nose or small, acne or none, curly hair or straight, they are beautiful because there is no one else in this earth quite like them and they are capable of things that no one else it because of the exact way they, and no one else, is. – Alli
Being a woman, we’re told to hide our emotions (because we all know “women are always so emotional”). We are told to be submissive, we are told we have to be mothers, we are told its probably better for us to have a less managerial job, or maybe just stay home. We are told we can never be as strong as men, and were raging lunatics when we show our strength. I say, we can be any or none of those things. It’s okay to be strong, or weak at times. We shouldn’t have to hide anything were feeling based off of whether someone will judge us for being too emotional or not emotional enough. We are strong, ladies; we are capable. But we don’t have to always be, and not because we are women, but because we are HUMAN. – Alli
There are so many things that have been naturalized to such an extent we don’t even view them as oppression or inequality. why can’t I drink a beer without you being surprised at my choice not being a cranberry martini or the like, I could continue but these are all things I personally have experienced and continue experience similar things on a day to day basis. This is not even getting into equal pay, equal representation, or equal opportunities. But this is how some of it plays out in my day to day life that wouldn’t be this way if I were not a woman. – Alli
I’ve been told I’m too much at times or I try too hard and other times that I don’t do enough – Kelsey
Women need to be heard, not just listened too. – Kelsey
“My upbringing should have hindered my journey to reach my full potential, but gratefully, with hours of therapy coupled with God’s abundant and repetitive grace and mercy in my life, I can honestly say I do not live crippled or hindered by my past.” – Leslie
“I was raised by a father who I know now had a love/hate relationship with women,unfortunately for me and my 3 sisters, he had 3 daughters. Because I was tall, thin, and pretty, he made it his mission to remind me that I was a temptation to men. He called me names, such as hussy and seductress to name a few. I was made to wear knee-length homemade culottes and gauchos in an effort to hide my figure and was not allowed to wear sleeveless tops or tanks because it was, and I quote, “an invitation for men to rub their tongue all over my shoulders”. I was not allowed to wear any shirts with writing and or symbols (as in an IZOD or NIKE logo) because that was, and I quote, “an invitation for men to gawk at my chest”. Also, I was not allowed to go to a swimming pool or the beach in a swimsuit where there were members of the opposite sex, this was called “mixed bathing”. So, I wore a romper to the beach and tried to learn how to water ski at Lake Lanier in denim gauchos. I’m giving these dramatic details not for shock value, but in an effort to show that you can rise above an conquer your past with intentional living which for me included seeking counsel and therapy and making God’s word a part of my life. Wise counsel and God’s word have saved my life.” – Leslie
“These things empower me as a woman: meaningful friendships with other women, being the heart of my home, encouraging and helping my husband be a better man, expressing kindness with a smile, hug, prayer, and/or meal, in an effort to encourage and extend hospitality on a daily basis…expressing my womanhood is part of who I am, it is what I do.” – Leslie
“I’m not looking to society to provide what I need. I have everything I need as a child of the King, as a wife to Robert, and a mother to Hannah and Caleb, as a sister to Linlee and Lisa, and a friend to dozens of special people in my life. I gain fulfillment and joy by nurturing and enjoying quality relationships. If I could wave a magic wand I would not change who I am as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and girlfriend. I love who God made me to be and I strive daily to flourish in His love and grace. I love using my spiritual gifts of exhortation and hospitality to encourage other women on their journey.” – Leslie
“I feel like we are conditioned to hide our womanhood every month when we get our period. That PMS isn’t an excuse to feel bad or sleep more or be in a bad mood. also that we need to hide tampons or that its shameful to buy tampons from a male cashier.” – Maggie
“I feel like I express my woman hood by wearing as little makeup as I want. I am expressing myself just as I am without the need to make myself look extra feminine or classically beautiful. My favorite part about being a woman is the connection you almost instantly have with other women. There is a real power in listening and being just ears for another woman even knowing her very little. Im also grateful to be a woman because how close I am with my sisters. Beyond sharing clothes we can share experiences.” – Maggie
“I think men invalidate women a lot or need some kind of proof for what they feel or experience. I feel sometimes the power of my word is half as strong as a man’s. I wish more women didn’t feel the need to explain or prove themselves all the time. Like fuck it just say what you want or ask for what you need without needing to justify or explain.” – Maggie
“The shitty experiences I’ve faced don’t necessarily feel like they’ve hindered my experience. they’ve guided me towards where I am today. So my eating disorder, mental health struggles, bullying, abusive relationships, assaults, all the junk has brought me to a place of peace. The only thing that slowed me down was suppressing my sadness, anger, joy, and rage to be more palatable.” – Emily
“Thankfully, I was raised in a home where my womanhood was celebrated. My father has always treated me with respect and has never failed to love, support, and encourage me. The same can be said for my mother, she truly made our home a safe place for me to be who I am and speak my thoughts and opinions freely. It is because of them that I have always felt the freedom to be the woman who God created me to be.” – Hannah
“I express my womanhood by doing what I love.” – Hannah
“And after listening to a podcast by Alex Seely, my new favorite thing about women is that we have the ability to carry image bearers of God. What an honor for women!” – Hannah
“I also strive to be woman that people know they can come to about anything, I was raised by a woman like that.” – Hannah
“I believe when a woman is told she is not good enough or not worthy enough to complete a task it hinders not only that one woman, but all women” – Emily
“Comparison is the thief of all joy. I am learning to feel freedom in my flaws and turn my flaws into my strengths” – Emily
“We are designed to nurture. We are designed to create life. We are designed to empower and support our children. We are designed to be doctors. We are designed to own a company” – Emily
“I believe I express my womanhood through vulnerability. I have good days or good weeks or good moments. But, I also have bad days or weeks or months. Why hide that? Why hide emotions? We were designed with them” – Emily
“One day I will be a mom. A mom that will teach my children that you are strong and capable and brilliant. And, that you are designed for a life full of purpose. I have been given the gift of raising up the next generation and I personally believe that is the greatest gift Jesus could have given me. I will teach my daughter and son that they are both designed with unique gifts and passions, and that every person should be equally respected no matter their position, status, or education.” – Emily