You know, there’s something about spending time in the company of amazing women? Rich full conversations, laced with laughter, confidences and tears. You leave feeling full and nourished, as if you’ve eaten a banquet even if you’ve only shared a cup of tea.
Life feels a little easier, a little less daunting because someone has said those magic words:
“You? Me too.”
I feel this way about Amelia.
Amelia and I have lived on the other side of the planet now for over a decade, but every time we manage to coordinate our schedules to Facetime or meet in a hotel lobby before one of us has to return home, we skip the small talk and quickly dive into what’s really going on. Amelia’s proof that being brave is not only about jumping out of a plane, but about the way we approach life each and every day. And when I leave her company, I return to my regular life feeling comforted, uplifted and loved.
To celebrate Women of Wisdom, and most especially today’s International Women’s Day, I asked inspiring women in my circle to share something they’re grappling with, with you. And I’m thrilled that Amelia agreed! Her story is perfect timing for this day where we look at changes we can make in the world so women in our generations and beyond are more respected and celebrated.
Take it away Amelia ♥
Life’s too short… wear the red shoes,
So, I’m not going to lie, I asked my 4 year old daughter if she knew what the word ‘wisdom’ meant so I could do an ‘out-of-the-mouths-of-babes’ opener.
But her answer, “Hmm, I don’t think so?”, wasn’t entirely catchy! She was twirling ankle deep in plastic toys on the wooden floor. The sound wasn’t pretty. So I said:
“What about the word ‘wise’, do you know what that word means?”
“Yes, men are very wise.”
My feminist heart dropped!
“What do you mean, darling?”, barely holding back horror and my crushing sense of failure as a mother.
“Well! It’s a man-ish sounding word!”
She dashed off to the other end of the room & face-planted into her dress up box, soon to be just a pair of feet beneath synthetic pinks and tulle. I found myself ranting at her, in a semi-quiet, maternal fashion, of course, about wisdom and being wise and listing the wisest people I know and how most of those people I listed were women and I raved about the great female strength of wisdom. I think there was a bit of my sweat involved and I recall holding the edge of the table tightly while I tried to hurl “What Women’s Wisdom Means to Me” at her in a white-knuckled finale:
“…and we’re connected to the tides and the moon and we can create LIFE! There must be inherent wisdom because of those things? Right?! Right?!”
She just sang. About a prince.
It was impossible it was for me to articulate what women’s wisdom means to me, how fundamental it is and exactly how I experience it. It is almost without words. Occasional, sparse and lovingly careful words at times. But mostly, women’s wisdom, to me, is an energy, a pull, a draw, a weight of grounded openness. It is acceptance of Other, and that magical acceptance of Self.
Just within this little exercise I can see just what a long path I am yet to travel to begin to embody the wisdom I seek out in my dear, precious and magnificent women folk, the ones who can hold me. Get me. Catch me. The ones who feel like they’re pouring me tea or wine or stroking my hair, even when they’re on the other side of the world.
I hoped my daughter would never feel the need to be ‘girly’, I wanted for her the tree-climbing, trouser-wearing, rumble tumble childhood that somehow seems so much more acceptable to me. But as I get to know this little soul, I am recognising that she actually just loves some of the stereotypes I hoped would evade her (my own judgements squaring up to me); she wants sparkles, magic, dresses-only and a prince! These things are important to her and what she identifies with.
My wisdom will come in accepting her expression of self without feeling it is a reflection on my letting her down or making her feel she has to be something. To continually remember we are separate and she is whole and I am too. That she is this gorgeous, self-assured, glitter-loving person who is allowing me to be a little of the same… And yet I’m still bound to give her plenty of fodder for the therapist’s couch!
Unless she asks, I won’t be ‘telling’ her what women’s wisdom is. I can’t tell her. I will hopefully show her. And where I cannot, I can ensure that this little being will be surrounded by the great, unshakeable power of the wisdom from my female friends and relatives. When I think of this circle surrounding her, tulle and all, I cannot quite believe the fortune I have in knowing that foundation is supporting her. She will be encompassed by generations of women’s wisdom, from such an array of backgrounds and perspectives. There is such an energy, a pull, a draw and weight of grounded openness for my dear daughter to rest upon, lean upon, push against and return to. Blessed.
She pops up through her fairy costume, bringing me back into the moment with her, declaring with wand in hand,
“I’m 100cm now, so I’m getting wiser all the time! I will be a wise woman one day!”
~ Amelia Walker
Do you know a woman of wisdom who’s inspired you? Share in the comments below!