We are the daughters who have learned by age three what to say that pleases our daddies.
We are the little girls who dream of riding unicorns and of swimming with dolphins—whispering our secrets to them in their own languages.
We are the pimply teenagers who are silenced for days after one withering look from a popular girl.
We are the graduates who have written countless words on the literature and research of others but still don’t know what to say for ourselves.
We are the wives who soothe our husbands with quiet words after long days.
We are the mothers whose cries of joy are mixed with our newborns’ cries for nurture.
We are the daughters who ask the doctors all those scary questions about our mothers’ operations so that we can understand, so that we can make wise decisions.
We are the women who not only speak hard, wise decisions for our children, our parents, our families, but because of our strength, we are the women who are expected to put those words into action.
We are the mothers who teach our sons and daughters to read and to write and to think and to live in faith.
We are the grandmothers who babysit often but seldom advise.
We are the women who, every once in a while, remember back to our dolphin and unicorn days—those days when we had space to think and time to speak to the outdoors—knowing someone was listening.
And we are the women who, every once in a while, wish to speak with that same uninhibited innocence again.
But we are the women who, throughout all these years of giving life-words to our fathers and mothers and husbands and children and grandchildren, have forgotten how to speak life for ourselves.
We are the women who—through writing—find our own voices again.