Thursday, March 25, 2010

Manifesto Female: What I Have Learned

My older sister Page once said to me,
"I don't know what it is, but giving birth to my daughters was an entirely different experience. It's almost as if they were made out of a different essence."

That is where I want to begin.

I am writing this essay with the essence I was birthed with, the spirit that fills my body, the soul that communes with divinity. This is the part of me where I am most comfortable, though I am not always good enough to be there. This isn't an official doctrine of my church, but it is influenced by what I have studied out in my mind and heart. It is me, essentially.

Every Sunday I stand with the young women in my church and repeat a bold statement called the Young Women Theme. It starts, I am a daughter of God, who loves me and I love him . . . (read the entire theme: here).

If I believe I am a daughter of God then I believe that every woman is a daughter of God.

Every woman who has, will and now exists has characteristics of heaven. This is not restricted to those baptized in my church, this is the genesis of all women. We came from a Heavenly Father who made our female spirits receptive to hearing inspiration and revelation from a Divine Source. These powers are written in the code of our biological make-up, as well as hidden in our spirit. We may know they are there, we may not. I believe they are there.

With these powers of innate wisdom and discernment--given from God, women are capable of anything. They can create. They can destroy. They can change. They can evolve. And because of this I believe in a woman's endless capabilities, that when paired with a God (also known as a sense of self) there is no end to what a woman can choose.

She can fight injustice. She can heal from injustice. She can help other women fight or heal from injustice. She can work. She can be satisfied in work. She can find confidence. She can capture truth and live it entirely. She can rise above. She can be aware. She can find intelligence placed inside of her that no force can destroy on this earth, no matter how hard it becomes. She can listen. She can hear. She can obey. She can develop her own rules, and obey those too. Woman is clever enough, resilient enough and strong enough to find paths that weren't always apparent.

She isn't less than, or more than, the next woman or man. She is her own entity which becomes cheapened when compared to others. When following the promptings inside of her soul to do whatever is important for her own life plan she simply has no equal.

But these powers are the most potent when used to love other women. To support. To carry. Lift. Encourage. Serve. Fight alongside. And in my experience, this is also the hardest part about being a woman. There are forces at work designed to turn woman against woman in an effort to completely destroy the massive amount of good we can do when united. But I also know that I feel the strongest as a woman, when I am helping another woman, or being helped by another woman--whether she is someone I know, or a someone who lives across the world. I'd be smart to unceasingly search for opportunities to serve. (Sometimes I regrettably forget this.)

I can't write for every woman, and every woman's unique circumstance. I am not aware of every tribal, local, religious, federal policy on women around the globe. I believe a woman's ultimate goal is happiness, but I can't begin to describe what that looks like for everyone. What I want to hear from other women, is what I will give in return: We can do it. Whatever it is. We can do it. We have done it before. We will do it again and again. We contain God-given endless abilities. We are here for each other. You teach me. I will teach you. God is with us. We can, I can, you can.

We can achieve our potential as wives, we can do it as mothers, we can do it with no title (or uterus) at all. If all we aim to do in this life is discover our eternal intelligence we'd still be fulfilled beyond human capacity. I will never feel sorry for a woman who seeks the best of what this life is offering, even if what she finds doesn't look like what I have found.

Our bodies are built to be strong in principal and natural femininity. Femininity looks different on every woman-- it is the essence that sets us apart from each other, and from man. Femininity isn't about dresses, make-up or shoes, it is about fulfilling our specific female identity. Only we know what that is, but it is encoded in our bodies. It looks good on us. And sadly, the sacredness of our bodies are the most exploited entity on this planet.

But we can change that too.

Women will seek out what feels inherently best to them--the simple life, the complicated life, the busy life, the communal life. I am learning to trust this as we all share the same birthright of being female. If women want labels, so be it. As for me, Daughter of God is all-encompassing. It is as practical as buying cleaning solvent from the door-to-door salesman, to leaving an unhealthy marriage. I know the women who came before me made sacrifices, fought battles and picked hard choices. I know they were led by the same inner voice I hear today, the voice of a loving God who champions his daughters, gives them hope in all things if they seek it, and looks after them even in the darkest of places. It is impossible to comprehend just how powerful he made us. Sometimes I get a glimpse, and it sends me reeling for days.

I've always like what Emma Lou Thayne said about writing as a Mormon woman, "The pillars of my faith are still intact, but the roof has blown blessedly off the structure to reveal a whole sky full of stars."

I am a happy woman and I owe it to my Father in Heaven.

This is my essence.