International Women’s Day
Let me tell you about womanhood.
Teeth chattering coming out of anesthesia, the first thing I thought out of surgery was where is my baby? The baby that had died inside of me and then almost killed me – I asked to see it and the look on the chaplain’s face suggested that this was not a normal request. She obliged. It came in a cloudy plastic container with a big sticker on it that had my name, a bar code, and some medical jargon on the side. Terrence and I held it up into the light – squinty eyed – wondering out loud what exactly was what. I was able to make out two beady black eyes and felt a sense of pride: my body made that. That is womanhood.
I spent the next week arguing with the state about getting that baby back to bury it the way I wanted. I weeded through death certificates, permits, I became a funeral director, and I didn’t get my way. I lost that battle and I wept out loud from the bottom of my belly at the county mortuary with at least a dozen strangers watching me. I had to walk away from it. That is womanhood.
And then in that same week, I shot two weddings. I showed up when I had every reason not to because I wantedto. In my most broken moments, I was still a photographer and an artist and knew that was where I needed to be. I could still wear all of the hats because that is womanhood.
But that is only part of what it means to be a woman. I’ve been a woman when I have been called a bitch, when I have been called bossy, when I’ve been too stubborn for my own good. But you know what, I own my business and I am the boss, I get to be bossy. And sometimes I am too stubborn. But sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I am just stubborn enough because stubborn gets shit done and I like to get shit done.
Being a woman is about primal strength. We have it in our bones, it’s in our DNA and no one can take that from us. We can move mountains, we can build careers, we can choose to make babies – we can choose not to make babies. We can love; oh we can love so hard that it becomes impermeable. We can feel, we can fight, we can lift each other up and we should. We are women.
Enjoy these photos of my fellow strong women.
Photography: Apollo Fields