A dear friend of mine wrote this beautiful piece asking the question, “What Does it Take to be a Woman?”
I hope it blesses, encourages, and inspires you today. You have what it takes!

Photo by Epic Imagery - http://www.epicimagery.com/

Photo by Epic Imagery – http://www.epicimagery.com/

What Does it Take to be a Woman?

By Angie Merrill

Are you ready to be,
From the time you’re two or three,
Commended when you are being good
And acting like you should
With dollies, books, and blocks
Colorful bows and ruffle socks
Hushed when you become too wild and loud
Warned about the dangers in a big crowd
Because you are delicate and small
And they don’t want anything to happen to you at all?

Are you ready to fix,
From the time you are six,
Your hair in a pony tail or bun
So you can run and have fun
Without anything getting in the way.
To say “Okay,”
When told not to get messy or hurt
If you play in the dirt
Or while trying to climb a tree
When your spirit longs to explore and be free
Can you be sweet and kind and never abrupt
Control your emotions and not interrupt
Try your best not to act bossy or crazy
Since that wouldn’t be fitting of a young lady?

Are you ready to shelve
From the time you’re eleven or twelve
Uterine aches and irritability
And opt for civility
Even when cramps are too much to bear
To carry on with a smile
Though it feels like a trial
To continue work and school at the top of your game
As if everything is exactly the same
When Aunt Flow is ruining your week somehow
Knowing she’ll be back about 28 days from now?

Are you able to glean
From the time you’re thirteen
wisdom and grace
As you inevitably face
Competitiveness, cattiness, and such
And pretend cyber bullying doesn’t bother you that much
Setting your insecurities aside
When you want to hide
From those who were once your friends…
To hold your head high in the halls
And have the gall
Not to believe the things they’ve said.
To dominate on the field or court
Whatever your sport
Or your dance or art or song
And prove them all wrong?

Are you able to battle—
younger than you should ever have to battle—
The images on computer, television, and movie screens
That tell you to be tall and lean
With a certain bust size
Or waist size
Or butt size
Or nose size
Or lip size
Or thigh size
If you want to be noticed or valued by guys
Or considered beautiful.
And if you fall short this standard, you must be dutiful
To go under the knife
So you can obtain the perfect image and life.
Or will you instinctively know it’s all superficial fluff
And that you are in fact good enough
When you look in the mirror and see
You are exactly as you ought to be?

And on the flipside…
Are you prepared to take in stride
The catcalls and hollers
From players and ballers
Or be ogled as you walk down the street
And just because you seem sweet
They take license to call you “baby” or “honey”
And isn’t it funny
That they’ll never know how it feels
To walk a mile in your four-inch heels
Or the courage you muster strolling alone to your car
Looking over your shoulder wherever you are
Gripping your phone and your keys tight
Just in case someone is lurking in the night?

Are you ready to strive,
Between eighteen and twenty five,
(Or whatever age, of course,
you decide to enter the workforce)
To be merited on your talents and brain
Yet get overlooked or underestimated time and again
Can you press on and persevere
When the challenges become severe
To show them that you’re immovable
That your intellect and worth is most certainly provable
Will you work hard and pursue your dream
And consider it more possible than others might deem
To finally get to the top based on your ability and smarts
And still earn 23 percent less than your male counterparts?

Are you able to endure
A love that is selfless and pure
If you embark on the journey of motherhood
To suffer miscarriage when you never thought you would
To put your heart on the line and continue to try
And feel the ecstasy of seeing that glorious line
Displayed on the pregnancy test… Read the rest of the poem here.