Waiting for validation, a reason to live she sits huddled beneath her shadow
She has never been told she is enough,
she has never felt the arms of a lover that has not used her to gain power or control
she has never seen the own glory of her power, of her sacredness, her aliveness
She moves among us, disconnected, a shadow of herself.
We see her, but see nothing but her smile, and her manicured hands, her made-up face.
Inside she screams and runs for her shelter, sure that we have seen through her fa�ade.
There is a journey that awaits her,
For all of us that are willing to journey through the shadow lands,
Through the lands of the lies that we have been told,
The shoulds, ought tos and have tos that we believed,
that we held to as though our life depended on it.
One day a wise woman told her that her death depended on it.
She walks through the shadow lands,
supported by those who have made the journey from dark to light,
from lies to the truth.
She looks forward and sees her freedom
As she turns to see behind her she sees that others have joined her in her journey, in their journey,
her past has become our past,
her pain has become our pain,
her tears have joined others who have been denied, suppressed, become the river for the dry land of solitude,
it has been transformed from a place of pain and separation to a place of beauty and solidarity.
She steps forward finally knowing she is not alone.
The journey toward wholeness, toward reclamation, towards healing.
She has taken the first steps.
� Erica Staab Westmoreland
Writer, thinker, reader, liver and lover of life.