COLUMN: Women have a spirit strong and powerful

Martin Chang, Opinions Editor

There’s a force in my life that propels me out of the deepest depressions, that sparks my creative spirit when it’s at its most dead. The feminine spirit and how it expresses itself will be a friend, something that guides my path, for my entire life.

As cheesy as her music can be, I first discovered this spirit in the music of Vanessa Carlton. When I heard her first album “Be Not Nobody” at 14, I heard music that I could feel more deeply, music that affected me.

Revealed to me was a spirit with amazing depth.

What I heard was an expression of an inner spirit that all women possess, a spirit that sings in bright colors, a spirit that expresses a graceful inner-beauty that moves and flows with honesty.

It moves with an unapologetic fierceness that isn’t scared to express the brightness of love, the darkness of heartbreak and all of life’s up-and-downs at the high emotional pitch that people feel those feelings. Those feelings that are a part of human experience and speaks to that experience like nothing else can.

Whether it’s Carole King singing about how we are all “Beautiful” or Kelly Clarkson’s songs of strength, when this spirit sings about embracing inner-beauty, of finding the strength inside yourself to overcome the trials of life, it sings in a voice that knows.

This voice knows because of the struggle that women face in embracing that inner-beauty, in facing those trials of life. It gives that voice a power that is so, so, special, a power that digs deep and explodes with strength that cannot be matched.

The beauty of this spirit comes from these heavy places, but it also comes from something simpler, a grace that women simply have. It is expressed in a confidence, a confidence that comes from knowing a unique beauty inside.

Whether in paint strokes or notes in a song, this confidence comes out in a way that is both alive and flowing. It flows with an ease that is vibrant, a vibrancy that reaches the height of expression with its brilliance that glows with extraordinary brightness.

I’ve talked in songs and music terms just because that’s what I know best. This spirit goes much further than music.

Everything from the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, down to the small things like doodles in a notebook and the way women talk, expresses this spirit.

Even those women that choose not to express this spirit through art or any conscious way still have it. It’s simply there and it’s so strong that it gets out there somehow.

Yet, it’s not surprising that some women choose not to make point of expressing this amazing spirit that they possess.

As I’ve come to appreciate this beauty, I’ve also noticed how many different ways women are told to hold it in, to not express whom they are, to be defined by others.

Women are told who to be by the media and the like to be all sorts of different things.

The media tells them what beauty is, making the women who may not fall in that narrow definition feel as though their spirit is not worthy.

They are pressured by the music, movie, and other industries to fall inside those narrow definitions of beauty.

Parents and others tell women to “be this” and “be that” based on their ideas of what they think a proper woman is.  Sometimes that is to embrace their spirit, but of what I’ve seen, often it is not.

These two things have created a cloud in our culture, a cloud that encourages women to be anything but themselves. A cloud that says, “beauty looks like this, and sounds like this, and anything that doesn’t fit isn’t beautiful.”

This cloud tries to extinguish the strength of the feminine spirit. Sometimes it does and that makes me angry and sad. But when, despite these challenges, that spirit fights back and unfolds with all of its brightness, that spirit is that much more strong, that much more powerful, because they have to fight that cloud.

All the women in the world have this spirit I’ve been writing about, not just the ones that look like movie stars and magazine models.

I’ve written this piece so women can know this. I want women to embrace this immense thing they have inside, to express that thing however they want, and to not to let anyone say it’s wrong.

Because when this spirit is expressed at its fullest potential, nothing is more inspiring and more beautiful.