A Chorus of Strong Women

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“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.” –Audre Lorde

M_DesireeI went through a horrible divorce. Horrible. It was my choosing, but still I felt weak and broken. The fear I felt was real. I had no idea who I was or what my future looked like.

My family felt broken and even though that was not true, the fear I felt around my decision was real. Raising kids by myself? Never wanted it. Did I mention that my husband and I worked together? Not only did I end my marriage but, essentially, my career as well.

I had no vision for my future and no voice of my own.

Today, in honor of every woman that struggles to free her voice but cannot just yet, I ask that we, her sisters, define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves–in her honor.

Let’s take a moment to recognize and respect the foundation and nurturing framework women provide to family and community all over the world.

We do epic things, every day, under amazing circumstances.

Because when I felt most broken this is what I needed to see: other women stepping into their power. I needed to hear their voices and stories. I needed their beauty and their scars. I needed them to sit me down and say the following:

You are not your wound, your weakness, or your resume.

You are not your pain. You are not your job.

You are not your income, your parents, your children, your partner, your community, or your circumstances. 

Sometimes we have too much faith in these things, these illusions. Our lives are not defined by these circumstances or by others. Those things may be fact, but they are not always truth.

Who are we? We are the TRUTH we speak about ourselves.

In my weaker moments, it would have rocked my world to hear a chorus of strong women telling me that I am this TRUTH by way of my voice and action.

This has been the hardest lesson of my life: letting go of the labels, boundaries, and stories in order to get clear about who I am. Not the stuff I own or the circumstances that I have helped create through action or inaction, but to get clear about WHO I am and the gifts I have to share.

Beyond our exterior lies an interior that is so dazzling and powerful it can transform lives. This place within shows us that we can love more, accomplish more, do more, and be more. The light that shines shows the way.  To see this in ourselves, we have to see it in others.

Empowerment is a two-way street.

I cannot be whom I am supposed to be if you are not who you are supposed to be. If my sister is not safe, then I am not safe. Her lack of safety reveals my own insecurity at a deeper level. We need to show ourselves to our sisters to help them make it through the darkness and pain.

We often become in people’s presence that which they expect us to be. So I defy those expectations. If they expect weakness, I am strong. If they expect less, I  give more. I let them know who I am.

People may want to hold us to our past, to an old story, to an old judgment. I no longer let them.  My opinion of self can not come from others. That power and light, that greatness, must radiate from within me or it will not come at all.

I share this with all the women I know, so they are clear:

You are more than just any one thing and you are powerful beyond measure.

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Desiree Adaway
Desiree is a consultant, strategist, coach, speaker, storyteller and explorer. She uses her superpowers–her voice, sense of adventure and belief in the transformative power of community–to help organizations design programs that create unrestricted revenue, volunteers and advocates. You can find out more about her at www.desireeadaway.com, or follow her on Twitter at @desireeadaway
Desiree Adaway
Desiree Adaway

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Desiree Adaway
  • Absolutely excellent. Profound. Exquisite. Exhilarating. And true. Thank you, Desiree, for empowering me!

    • Desiree Adaway

      We empower each other.

  • Thank you, this is awesome. you are amazing – and so am I 🙂

    • Desiree Adaway

      YOU are amazing!! 🙂

  • pastordt

    Well said, Desiree. Thank you.

    • Desiree Adaway

      You are very well. Thank you for listening.

  • Maria

    So Good. Thank you for being part of the chorus of women speaking this truth to me. I am powerful because of the strength of God! Xo

    • Desiree Adaway

      Amen!

  • Bev Murrill

    Desiree, I love that line: We are the truth we speak about ourselves. Wow. Amen. God help us speak what He sees and not what we see. Great writing!

    • Desiree Adaway

      So true.. it is not what we see.. we will always see small and broken, instead of magnificent and victorious!

  • Stephanie

    Beautiful, powerful & challenging. So much truth & wisdom here. A necessary reminder & an empowering message. Thank you Desiree.

    • Desiree Adaway

      So glad that my story resonated a nd hope they inspire you to keep going!

  • Loreen Egli May

    “People may want to hold us to our past, to an old story, to an old judgment. I no longer let them. My opinion of self can not come from others.” Yes! I know that. I needed to hear it. Thank you!

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