I planned to share my first experience cutting grass at my grandparent’s house. After years of watch my over 90-years-old grandfather relentlessly cut his own lawn out of pride of owning his home he decided to show my sister, and I knew one day he would teach me. This experience signified to me that I was “old enough”. As women we can be constrained by patriarchal perceptions of what a “woman’s work” is; yet my grandfather taught me that all work is a woman’s work. While other middle aged me cut their lawns, I fought through my allergies to claim my right to work because I was “old enough”. As I thought about this story and the many ways I could expand sharing the story, I began to wonder was this story of women’s abilities and talents truly what I wanted to share. Although this “right of passage” seems iconic in my development as a female, my spirit leads me to share the underlining story of a girl that smiled through sadness and confusion. I was the “happy” child, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, one with a smile is worth ten thousand words. A smile can hide the sadness of many today and tomorrows. Although it’s the less popular story among women, sadness is an emotion we all feel, and sometimes it drowns us in an ocean of isolation because no one is willing to confess, “I’m here, I’m sad too, and I will wait with you until the tide falls.”
Being a feminist means that I recognized the variety of lived experiences among women and I share in the joy and sadness. I see the potential for women to be and create goodness in a world that is at times unfair and abusive. At the time my grandfather taught me how to cut the grass I was uncertain of my importance in life and my ability to create, to contribute and leave a mark of remembrance. I was overwhelmed with sadness. His invitation was for me to become the leader, the tamer of something that seemed uncontrollable. After a week of rain, the grass on Dillon Street looked like the filming location for the movie Lion King. With the lawn mower I had command over every blade of grass. I called every line into being by the strength of my arms and motion of my hands. I learned to not only move my body, but also use it to achieve a desired result. In retrospect, I see this experience as one of my first courses in embodiment as a woman. Every two weeks I was presented with the opportunity to cultivate my method of creating. I learned to command with an explicit intention and not only live in my body, but also live through my body. Of course this was only the beginning of a life-long journey of discovering the precious gift of being female. This is a journey of womanhood that I pursue with great anticipation and pride for the female voices who have called into being the way before me, and those who have yet to realize the treasure their existence gifts to a world in great need. I define feminism as the uniting of feminine power that seeks to create and contribute to a world that would be lost without its voice helping to guide and command. Feminism means ““I’m here, I’m ______ too, and I will wait with you until the tide falls.”
Sierra McKissick is a Master of Divinity candidate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She is a religious leader who works toward providing care and counseling to at-risk and marginalized communities, Fisk University alum and a member of the women reVamped Board of Directors.