Erin Keith, Esq.
A Love Letter To the Women Who Have “Not Yet” Made History
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the superwomen who have blazed trails. From Shirley Chisolm, Ida B. Wells, and Angela Davis, to Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Beyoncé, Women’s History Month is usually meant to honor women who have lived out loud for our collective benefit, creating a legacy in the process.
As I reflected on the [s]heros of the past and the present, who have paved the way as the first this or first that, I thought about the history that is yet to be made. I thought about the communities that still need uplifting, the books and songs that still need writing, the cures that still need researching, the inventions that need developing. I worry we’ve become so obsessed with achievement that we rush the writing of our stories to broadcast our highlight reel. We’re so consumed by checking things off our Black girl magic to-do list, that we don’t stop to consider whether our goals actually align with our purpose or if we’ve identified our purpose at all. We are fighting to script our lives to a T, with no room to be used by the Most High or patience to wait for our divine assignment. It’s become clear to be me that, during this Women’s History month, it’s just as important to speak positivity into the lives of women who have yet to make history, as it is to applaud those who already have.
So, this letter is for all the inspiring, powerful women who have not yet made history. It’s for the women who are praying for that sense of direction, but still don’t quite know where they’re headed. It’s for the women who know they have talents and gifts but are still questioning exactly how they’re called to use them. It’s for the women who have tried meditation and affirmations but still can’t seem to escape that spirit of comparison. It’s for the women who are giving their all to their craft in search of that big break but still haven’t found yet. It’s for the women with larger-than-life dreams and, lately, larger-than-life setbacks. It’s for the women who thought they’d have “made it” by now—the ones feeling left behind. It’s for the doers, turned doubters, because of what they’ve been through. It’s for the women with all the guts, but seemingly none of the glory. This is a psalm for us.
One thing I have truly come to realize is that no matter how much you want to make your vision a reality, you will have to make a whole lot of other things first. Most of the women we hold in high esteem, made lemons into lemonadebefore they ever made history, and even that’s a vast understatement. Take Misty Copeland, who struggled with a tumultuous family life and housing instability before turning to dance as a refuge at the late age of 14 and realizing her gift. Or Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou, both of whom survived sexual assaults in childhood, navigated later teen pregnancies, and went on to become two of the most legendary women in our culture. Or Tiffany Haddish, whose struggles with illiteracy and path through foster care made her realize her best coping mechanism and innate talent—making other people laugh hysterically.
While every woman who makes history doesn’t navigate this type of trauma turned triumph, everybody struggles with something. From anxiety, depression, and self-doubt, to perfectionism, procrastination and bruised egos, how you deal with it and heal with it will make all the difference. Whatever your personal battle, you have the power to make the decision that it will drive you, not define you.
Another thing I noticed is that most of our [s]heros never set out to make history; well, at least not initially. Instead, they set out to make a difference and empower others through their gifts. The rest was just an added bonus. Instead of focusing so much on making your mark, start focusing on the right moves you’re making along the way.
Maybe you’ve yet to make history, but you’ve made something out of nothing. You’ve likely beat the odds in more ways than you even acknowledge, just to get to this point. Were you the first in your family to graduate? Are you the first in your family to truly go after your dream? Well, that’s worth celebrating, sis!
Maybe you’ve yet to make history, but you’ve made progress. Perhaps you’re not where you want to be, but you’re not where you used to be. You can be a work of art and a work in progress at the same time.
Maybe you’ve yet to make history but you’ve made yourself whole. You’ve survived that heartbreak or toxic relationship. You’ve ridded yourself of self-loathing behavior and introduced some positive friendships and healthy physical and spiritual habits. That’s a huge deal!
Maybe you’ve yet to make history, but you’ve made an impact. You’ve touched someone’s life and inspired them. You’re reaching back and pulling others forward. You’re giving of your time and showing gratitude. That matters more than you know!
All of these things are making you into the woman you’re supposed to become. They are the tools and materials for the foundation you are building. They are the water for the seeds you have planted. They are the keys to unlocking your life’s purpose. Appreciate your journey. Appreciate your path. Appreciate all of the muscle you are building and wait patiently for your moment to flex them.
You were born for such a time as this, and you will make the most of it. What is meant for you will never, ever miss you. You are exactly where you need to be, and when you look back over your life, it will all make sense. Your story is still being written and your essence is ever evolving. Now,go forth and laugh without fear of the future. What a gift to have more time to make your wildest dreams come true.
Note: A version of this article was published in March of 2019 on www.divineenthusiast.com.
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