It’s taken me years, no, decades, to declare out loud, “I am a warrior.” Because it has that ugly f**ing word ‘war’ smack-dab in the middle. In spite of my battle-girl persona, and maybe because of it, the claiming of that word has long chafed against my feminine ideals of empathy and connection, and my abhorring of war. Ditto regarding the word enemy – which I now encourage women to take to heart.
Because: life is not a dream.
Because: Enemies exist and aim to harm and destroy. Lest you be confused, I’m not just talking terrorism; I’m also talking politics.
I take words seriously, at their merit. Warrior was never meant to be a frivolous New Age word – liberally bantered about in Omega Catalogs where everyone who does anything remotely challenging declares themselves a warrior- of this or that.
Nope. Not having it.
A critical difference between being brave or courageous or even a fighter for one’s belief, is this: A warrior is willing (and perhaps obligated) to sacrifice him or herself for the ’cause.” Is willing to die. To lose, or worse, take a life. This goes far beyond the SELF – let alone warrior’s trending, self-congratulatory use.
In a pure sense the term Warrior holds a different meaning and spiritual power than being a rank and file soldier. It is utmost grave. It is sacred. It is deeply contemplated and arrived at, having plumbed unvarnished matters of the heart and soul.
In the Moment of Truth, it liberates all else.
The day I submitted to owning the word Warrior, I was in INDIA. Two village girls not far from where I was staying were raped and killed. (That’s not unusual) Their slender young bodies were left hanging from a mango tree, hanging from their slender crooked necks, like strange fruit for all the villagers to see.
The images splashed across newspapers. Amidst the horror and outage, I happened upon an article where local villagers remarked: This was not a solo incident. Not one of a kind. But one of many.
I could never shake that image. That knowing. And so it became my symbol and portal to my declaration. To a word I could not quite previously own, that had roiled around my mouth like Styrofoam bits too sticky to spit out.
That day, with a full and knowing heart, I declared out loud, with no internal conflict, resistance or sticky residue:
I am a Warrior. I will be the one to willingly drive a spear into the heart or throat of an enemy, and lose my life on behalf of women.
There was no turning back.
Here’s the upshot and takeaway: Naturally, not all women are meant to be flesh and blood warriors. But we can all separate WAR itself from the warrior spirit — and internalize the latter.
It’s a much needed weapon for all of today’s battles.