Who is this woman? This woman is strength. She is love and she is the walking, living and breathing manifestation of determination and resilience. This woman is beauty. Not the type that fades away, but beauty that comes from a place beneath the layers of skin, where real beauty resides. This woman is a giver, a lover, a keeper, a helper.
But this woman did not always know this. She did not know who she was and she was yet to comprehend her worth. You see, she let circumstances and people and their treatment of her, define her worth and inform her reality. This woman has been used, abused, discarded and disregarded, again and again and again. This woman has been broken so many times, it is a wonder that she can even pick up her pieces. But pick up herself she does, with scarred, trembling and bleeding fingers. To the world she may appear battered and broken because sometimes, her branches look weak but her roots are strong. There may be callouses on her hands but her feet hold firm.
This woman is Grace. Call her Grace, because it is the Grace of Him who created her, Him who called her, Him who keeps her, in which she stands, lives and breathes.
For years this woman allowed others to inform her reality based on their perception of her. And for years she gave the best of herself to people who did not deserve her. But this woman grew, albeit slowly, she learned and is still learning to embrace herself, love her flaws, and avoid shrinking because others may find her intimidating or ‘too much‘. She now stands in her truth and speaks it, even when her voice trembles. She embraces her story, refuses to be defined by it and tells it no matter how uncomfortable others may feel. It is her story you see and she is not in the business of sanitizing it for the comfort of others. She found herself at the end of a pen, and now relishes in the things that make her Grace.
So she owned her quirks, reconciled with her past, and embraced all shades and sides of her. But at first, she struggled. She fell among the rocks, kicked hard at thorns and hurt herself and could no longer move. But it was there she found Grace and had an encounter with self-love that smacked her so hard in the face, that she got up and fell in love with herself. She embraced herself and decided that only she would write the narrative of her life, not others. Then, she set on a course of creating a life that she craved, on her terms. You see, she recognized that the longest relationship she’d have with anyone was the one with herself, and she was determined to make it her most rewarding, most successful, most important.
Don’t call her by her past, don’t define her by her mistakes or her struggles. Call her Grace. It is what keeps her, what saves her each day, and it’s what informs her reality and shape her consciousness.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife, writer and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found bingeing on Netflix, baking or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping on wine and coffee – sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.