Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
-Maya Angelou

This poem…which I simply could not bear to abbreviate, has always been one of my favorites. For one, Maya Angelou mentions her heels…which you all know I love! But the passion that comes forth in the stanzas allows every woman reading it to connect to it and celebrate the fullness of who they are. We are all phenomenal women.

One of my passions in life is to show up fully as a woman. Showing up means every day I am proud to be a woman in every aspect of my life. I dress the way I feel fully as a woman (and this different for everyone). When I feel the need, I speak out, and at other times, I know I have more power in my mysterious silence. A good friend told me to be the master of my words, and I always think of this as I put ideas out into the world. I treasure what I love–some of which are exploring, reading and writing, working in my business, caring for those closest to me, and also advocating for things that are important to me.

One idea that is important to me is supporting women in their efforts…whether it be another woman in her business ventures, complimenting someone whom I meet along the way, standing up with a woman who sticks her neck out to run as a candidate, or holding the space for a woman who is trying to get her life back on track. It means so much to have the support of our sisters, which is why I get frustrated by women who, when they make it, cut off the ladders for others to rise. It makes no sense, but it happens. In significant ways such as women who are in leadership roles saying women don’t really need equality, and in little, but perhaps more harmful ways, like gossip, spreading rumors, and backstabbing.

We need each other. If you look back to native societies and ancient times, women understood this partnership and helped each other out. If you haven’t read the book The Red Tent, get yourself a copy and enjoy! As the parable goes, “we hold up half the sky,” but we cannot do this alone. It may work for a short time for one to advance by stepping on another’s head, but it all catches up and the paybacks…well, you know.

We all have moments we wish we could erase. Friendships ended over something that might not even matter today, things we wish we didn’t do, misunderstandings, words spoken that could have been avoided, and just plain old being hurt. As much as we have been wounded, we have certainly wounded each other, and the magic happens when we forgive in order to move forward in our lives.

One magic moment I had when traveling last year was to have a beautiful woman at a café ask me if I was a model…I laughed out loud because I certainly didn’t see myself as a model in that sense. We got to talking and had such a wonderful moment that lit my heart. See what we can do for one another (for free!) just by being open to recognizing all the phenomenal women around us!

We are not alone, we are as diverse as anything, but as we heard when we were younger, there is safety in numbers. Let us use those strengths, and when we achieve what we dream, let us reach back and pull all our sisters forward. The future of world is depending upon us! When one shines, we all radiate that energy!! Women are the Present!

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