I don’t believe it is a coincidence that every time I drive to Amirah there is a strong female-affirming song blasting from my car radio. Today it was Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys. I appreciate these songs not because I need a pep rally or pump-up before I come to my evening shift. In fact I always look forward to it. Rather, I gladly turn up these songs because despite a world that systemically undermines the female, her femininity, her body, and her worth, these lyrical anthems remind me that women are intrinsically strong, powerful, holy, and wild all-in-one.
With this in mind, I quiet the radio so it doesn’t startle me when I get back into my car, and enter the home. I am greeted warmly by staff and volunteers who after a long work day of their own are interested in knowing about my well-being and never fail to slip in an affirming word. Usually there is the smell of dinner meandering its way through the house as I read my shift report. During these evening hours I am able to slip into that day’s unique rhythm within the home. I assist with dinner preparation, edit a participant’s writing assignment, change out a light bulb, watch music videos, or simply catch up on life, work, and relationships.
When I start my shift, I know I have entered a space that can be unpredictable yet simultaneously seeks to offer stability and support in an all-encompassing way. I have entered a space where the work of personal and communal restoration is tangible in mundane daily tasks as well as milestones we celebrate together. I see growing confidence manifested in the form of a meal prepared by someone who had up until a few weeks ago never turned on a stove. With an impromptu dance party in the living room I celebrate that chronic medical concerns have ceased and bodies are healing. I am in a place whose primary focus is the continuous journey and work of women’s recovery, healing, and reclaiming.
So after my shift, as I get back into my car I realize that today's songs are about women who, after experiencing adversity choose to fight back, reclaim their identity, and live fully. The songs are proclaiming that women are able, strong, and resilient. I am grateful for these musical reminders that accompany so well the honor it is to know the women of Amirah and be a part of this season of their journey. I continue to look forward to these evenings because I get to spend time with the bravest women I know.
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