We made history in this United States on Saturday – electing our first Madame Vice President. During this election season, I’ve been thinking about women and power and change and growth.
At the United State of Women Conference in May 2018 in Los Angeles, our new Vice President Kamala Harris talked about being a joyful warrior. That idea thrilled me.
I love the idea of a joyful, celebratory power. An unobstructed graceful fullness that creates things, that does not break them. A radiant power without limits. A power that activates talents, voices and energy. A purely female power. I’ve been working on an essay about the heritage of my own power. Here’s a bit of it:
The Pleasant Grove cemetery, which is neither grand nor large, is a few miles north of Provo, Utah, at the foot of Mount Timpanogos, which towers 7,000 feet over Utah Valley. I stopped by for a visit last year – my father and many of his family are buried there.
The snow-covered mountain against the bright blue sky was breathtaking. To my Angeleno eyes the mountain looked like a movie set, something created for magnificent effect.
My grandmother, Virginia Bird Booth Poulson, used to climb Mount Timpanogos and then slide down the glacier on the other side. Raised by a bed-ridden mother, she was self-sufficient, practical, energetic and cheerful. She had a great career as a department chair at Brigham Young University. She always encouraged me to be independent and useful.
My great grandmother Emma, Virginia’s mother-in-law, bore nine children, seven of whom died as babies or toddlers. Her husband then died in the influenza epidemic in 1920, when she was 46. She, her husband and those lost children are commemorated on both sides of a single headstone.
I stood in the shadow of the mountain and thought about these two women. They were resilient, determined, independent and faithful all of their lives. They lived with an immense, generative power because they had to, because they wanted to, because they were called to.
My skin started to tingle – I could feel their radiant courage in my veins. ‘Am I not them?,’ I asked myself. ‘Are they not me? Aren’t I another in this line of singular, powerful, unbreakable women?’
Yes. Yes I am. We are of the same blood, the same bones, the same earth. Their energy created the fire in me. This bright and fierce way of living is my birthright. I am exactly who I am meant to be.
Today we are at the start of a new era in the United States, an era that will be imagined and guided by so many magnificent women.
I love seeing individualism, devotion, power, tartness and sacredness in women everywhere. I can’t wait to see every woman in the world overflowing with her own sense of this immense and generative power. And I can’t wait to see us all use this gorgeous power to change not just our country but the world.