This a love letter to the sisterhood.
This is an homage to all the women who hold us up.
The ones who walk before, leaving a trail of wisdom crumbs behind for us to follow in the dark.
The ones who walk at our side, whispering those two sweetest words like a salve to our tired soul:
The ones who walk behind, not there yet, who look at us with big eyes and remind us of where we have been and how we have grown and what we have conquered.
This is for the women whose hearts split into a thousand pieces as they give small pieces of themselves to their family, their job, their friends, and their neighbors.
The women who see suffering and resist the natural impulse to shrink away, who meet it instead with an ear, a shoulder, an embrace, a meal.
The women who carry themselves and their babies through a world that still sometimes scares them with heads held high and shoulders back because they are warriors. Because they are afraid and they do it anyway.
The women who learned to stop apologizing for what they are not sorry for.
And for the women who love themselves enough to say no.
This is for the women in the trenches and on the ground and in the schools and in the hospitals and in the community centers and serving in the government buildings.
The women who marched and the women who cheered them on.
This is for the women who work because they have to or because they can.
And for the women who stay home because same.
This is for the women who have taken their bodies back and learned to love the soft places.
The women who wear what they want and let themselves be comfortable or sexy or modest or whatever the hell they want to be because it is theirs to choose.
The women whose scars and stretch marks map a story of survival and strength across their bodies for them to consult whenever they are feeling lost.
This is for the women who dance, alone or in a crowd, and let themselves remember what moving felt like when it was for nothing else but the raw joy of it.
And the women who sing unapologetically in their cars or in the shower or on stage, calling out simply for the freedom of hearing their voice.
This is for the women who create: babies or art or sustenance or beauty or words, worship, a testament of our feminine belief that yes, still, even now, the world is worth making better.
This is for the women who love fiercely, without restraint, and forgive the same way.
The women who don’t forget, not once, not for a minute, how far we have come and how far we have to go.
This is for all of us who stay a little bit on fire inside.
This is for my sisters.
I love you.
I see you.
This post originally appeared on lizpetrone.com.