There’s something about her.
She’s beautiful. She walks around with confidence, and through her laughter and her attitude, it appears as though she is a happy woman.
Such a joy to be around! Standing there with her purse over her shoulder, she exudes a certain something that draws you right in. You want to get to know her, inside and out, because you see something special in her smile. That smile? It’s a smile born from a journey. It’s a smile worn after years of climbing and stumbling. After counted years of picking herself up, brushing off her knees, shrugging her shoulders, and beginning again. Years of making her way down the twisting, turning, unpredictable road that is her own, very human life.
So if you really want to get to know her, and you are not just playing pretend, you will need to ask her some questions—questions about who she is, of course, and why she is, but mostly? Mostly, you will need to ask her what she carries.
Because in her mouth, her sweetly shaped mouth, she carries the taste of all the words she wished she had the courage to say, all the words in the universe that never left her lips, the ones she kept at bay. She carries on her tongue her thoughts unspoken, some unfinished business, her silence, her accusations, and every apology she’s ever issued.
On her hips, her rounded, full hips, she carries her own disappointment, all the times she felt weak and despondent. The times she couldn’t get out of bed, not even to make coffee—those times she wanted to sleep her days away, and never wake up.
She carries too the strength of a thousand times she did anyway.
In her head, her messy, raging river of a head, she carries the burdens; her burdens, and seemingly, the burdens of the world. And she carries your burdens too—like all women do. In her head is a swirling mass of righteous conviction, opinion, and hope. Hope, for those that continue to hope, can most certainly feel like a burden.
In her big heart, her living, beating, breathing heart, she carries so much love it could fill the seven rolling seas. She carries so much forgiveness, in her generous heart, it might bring you to your knees.
In her narrow throat, she carries that one muffled scream. She carries it still. She carries every lie she ever told to keep her secrets hidden, but in her face—her lovely, open face—she carries her truth, which is much stronger now than her harbored but distant memory.
In her soft belly, she carries her pain. The pain of a thousand slights, all those unyielding, ugly fights. She carries, too, her laughter—all the times she laughs and howls until she cries, the release of blessed, barking emotion from deep down inside.
On her shoulders, her sturdy, tenacious shoulders, she carries her mistakes. She lugs around her misgivings and doubts. She carries the weight of every time she put someone else’s happiness ahead of her own.
In her arms, her arms like wings, she carries her earnest wishes, her unsatisfied parts, her regrets, all the open containers, and her unfinished business. Like beat-up baggage hauled from place to place, it sits stoically in the corner of every room she enters. Even when she’s practicing being mindful, and present, that baggage is always there. A worn leather case of longing laid bare.
In her eyes, those eyes of depth, she carries peace and serenity. But her eyes swim with fire too—like torches burning bright, waving, darting, lighting up the night.
In her legs, and on her feet, she carries every last thing she’s ever run away from, every last thing she’s ever run toward, every time she said no, and yes, the weight of a thousand promises both ignored and kept.
That woman you see? That beautiful, beguiling, laughing, strong woman you’re watching, wanting to meet? The put-together one you can’t imagine isn’t the happiest, most loving, and lovable woman in the world?
That woman carries so much more than a purse.