It goes without saying, 2017 has been an epic year of women coming into our power, personally and collectively. Many of our Truthtellers in the past year have moved through momentous milestones and transitions: publishing a book, birthing a child or business, launching a movement, and navigating the priceless moments that mark every single life. Together, I can feel us deepening in the journey of knowing and living every ounce of our messy brilliance—however it wants to take form.
As always, Women For One’s main goal is to transform the world through the words we share and the truths we honor. As a tribute to our community in 2017, we’ve gathered the top stories of the year. These range from personal tales of heartache and resilience, to haunting accounts of trauma and the pain that can give birth to new possibilities, to passionate professions of enduring love for ourselves and those closest to us. All of these stories, as different as they are from one another, demonstrate what it means to be a Truthteller in our community—and also, what it means to be a woman in the world today.
While these are the top stories, every single one we receive is part of the tapestry of our community; you are the ones making life happen on your own terms, and we couldn’t do this without you! From the United States to Canada to Germany to Egypt to India, the Women For One tribe is beautifully diverse and profoundly unified. To that end, your presence here is vital. We thank you, we honor you, and we stand with you.
As a child, Laura Gray was forced to keep a dark and painful secret that she shared only with her doll. Finding the doll in a closet years later provided Laura with the strength and courage to finally share her story. This beautiful piece evokes the magic of childhood, the pain of innocence lost, and the power of unearthing our strength in even the most tragic moments of our lives.
Dr. Shivangi Maletia shares her inspiring story of fighting depression and turning her personal victories into public ones. She writes about entering the pageantry scene and winning the national title of Mrs. India Worldwide 2014. Today, she coaches women to recognize that there lives a queen inside each and every one of us—regardless of age, skin color, community, body stats, etc.
Fabienne Slama’s affair with a married man may have brought chaos into her life, but she learned valuable lessons about guilt, shame, and letting go. With courage and transparency, she shares what it means to pick up the pieces and reclaim her connection to passion, love, and herself in the midst of heartache.
Sometimes, social expectations cause us to disconnect from the true beauty of aging gracefully and naturally. Vanessa Benavides dives into her journey from making the decision to stop dyeing her hair to letting her grey grow out naturally. She also invites other women to step into a similar authenticity so that they can allow their beauty to shine unapologetically.
Women throughout history have proven their capacity to succeed in a variety of fields, but as longtime Truthteller Alaa Mansour passionately demonstrates, we need to redefine the meaning of gender equality—particularly in the Arab world.
When doctors advised Dea Torres to abort when she was seven months pregnant, she decided to get a second opinion. Dea’s story is an account of her determination to move through the diagnosis that doctors gave her son: “failure to thrive”—and how the baby the doctors said would never make it is proving them wrong.
Sylvia Smith used to think she wanted a romantic, demonstrative partner. But in her marriage of 15 years, she has discovered that the largest gestures of love are often the ones that go easily unnoticed by our society. Sylvia writes movingly about how her husband taught her that real love comes in unexpected packages.
The power to summon our courage appears when we need it and are ready for it. Tara Cyr’s truth is that she lived in fear of being weak and didn’t want to upset the lives of everyone around her. But when she began to see herself as bigger than the pain that was threatening to consume her life, she found the strength to push through her fear. Don’t miss this story by one of our Truthteller course alumni!
We don’t even realize how it sounds to others when we body-shame ourselves. Too many women feel the need to cover their imperfections with clothing, no matter how hot it gets. Caron Wunderlich, who was once the “queen of self-shaming and deprecation,” writes about her epiphany and tells us why it’s time women realize that our clothes are not a prison.
Artist and writer Susan Mrosek’s piece is about the challenges of toeing the line between love and codependency. From the deep bond of sisterhood to the ongoing grief that can sometimes impair our healing, Susan offers a gorgeous portrait of what it means to be there for ourselves and each other, and how the relationship between sisters endures despite the wounds we brave.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com