As we’ve been working to raise funds for our new site, Melissa went to our ladies and asked them for words.
Words that described them.
Words that defined them.
Words they wanted others to know about them.
And she took those words, and made this with them.
As wondrous and full and different and everything as every single woman who added a word to this is.
These are our words.
A woman, scared and alone, looked to the Mountain. “How long have I been sleeping? And why do I feel so alone? This is a struggle that I can’t seem to overcome.”
The Mountain, as mountains do, waited. Listened. And invited her in.
Asking her to begin.
“I once was in the Navy,” she began. “As an Ordnanceman during the Gulf War, with a need to run half-marathons and compete in triathlon relay teams as a swimmer. I was in the Army. A mechanic. The Air Force. A vet. I am petite and wear dresses and headbands and people just don’t see I am an Iron. Man.”
“People do not see me,” she said to the Mountain. And the Mountain waited.
“I can knit. And I love to dance. I am tough and technical and people can’t reconcile that with the cozy picture of knitting. Yet. I am strong. My 5’4’’ frame carried a 40 pound sousaphone! I am the mother of 5 boys ranging in age from 2 to 18. I love moving. And soothing. I choose joy!”
With her heaving, and releasing, she cried.
“I am more than what they see!” she yelled into the Wind. A woman who knows she’s strong enough but feels a little helpless sometimes.
The Wind listened and touched her face. Asking her to continue.
“I’ve been married 25 years. We have been together since high school and we are now grandparents. I have loved. And been love. I have loved this life, given. Loved moving and feel lucky. I have
The Mountain sighed. As she began to see and the tide began to rip free.
She cried, straight into the trees.
A yawp of release.
“I live! Unabashedly. And push forward to be present in my world. Be positive in my WORLD. The guiding light for all to see. I choose to live my life. For ME!”
“For me and all the trees.” “To live my dreams!”
She purged as it came….the amazing reprieve.
Her body trembling in her choice to see.
“I choose no more excuses and to live and love the life I have been given. Because I have been. Am here. And can do more than I think I can.”
“I can stop. Because I deserve a break.”
To stop. To listen.
These are the gifts we are given.
The Mountain breathed it in. Asking, yet again,
“What will you be when you choose to let it free?”
Her eyes welled with tears and all the years of words
Moved down her face and into the earth
The seeds of rebirth.
“There is no way to be, sweet Mountain, don’t you see?”
I am the bend of the tree. The heartbeat beneath my feet. The fire lighting the way and the wind off the eastern bay.
I am strength. Fierce love and protection. Life. Giving and laughing. I am all the purple flowers in the field. Big tiedyed swirls of love.
I am nurturing. Protecting those around us. And offering and begging empowerment—soft enough to nurture, and fierce enough to stand.
I am ripping and searing pain. Birthing new people. New ideas. New beauty into the world.
As I push.
With the words unfurling and the life swirling
Around her in color, and hues of blue,
The woman’s heart lifted
As the wind asked her to dance.
A request, gifted.
She closed her eyes and gave in to the sway. The feeling of life.
All that had been. Will be.
As her voice lifted toward the Mountain, her chant filling her ears and heart and soul
I am. I am. I am.
She began to hear again.
Not the wish of yesterday. Or the fear of yet to be.
But the song of the women, gathered in the trees.
Surrounding her with ocean sprays of green.
I am. I am.
A small light that refused to go out. A strength I didn’t believe was possible. A gardener. A knitter. An imp, if I choose. A volunteer. A mentor. With the ability to see. Courage to keep going.
A fighter. A lover. Willingness to be. I am the sunshine. The rain. The mist of the bay.
The strength of 1,000 men and the heart of the world.
A nurturer. Cultivator. An amazing friend.
I am compassion.
Darkness, deep and wide.
I am the want. The listener. And the sharer.
I am the desire
To be more
To listen to others
To be an advocate
With the fire that craves a space to burn.
With the voices united in blaze and passion the Mountain waited, ready.
Then it was time to ask:
“Within you, it has been. And will forever be.
But how, sweet one, will you always see the answer you find….
When you seek the other trees?”
With the insecure caring fighter, fighting for all that is right, and her face toward the light,
“I am learning to love myself as others. Even though I am small, I stand like I am 10 feet tall.
I am the infinite possibilities of adventure. The potential of hope.”
Light burst through the clearing
With the grove of women singing,
The power, freeing.
Silenced by the woman—changed and free
The whispering voice gaining strength,
“Because you are worth it.”
With her body tired and her heart relieved, she lifted her hands to the Mountain,
Open and ready to receive all she had searched for.
And hoped to believe.
When the words found her.
“You are,” the Mountain said, “And am indeed.”
The every thing.
About the Author
Each woman has a story, and she has the right to tell it. This is the heart of HWHV, a group of women who choose to support those who love someone in uniform. No matter the branch or affiliation. HWHV believes that a voice can change a moment, but unified voices can change the world.