What is a woman? Perhaps it is easier to describe what a woman is not. A woman cannot truly be defined. A woman holds no particular shape. She has no particular style or arrangement, no single color, no limits. A woman is not confined to the choking constraints of categories. A woman, instead, is anything she wishes to be.
She is the artist, the entrepreneur, the stay-at-home mother, the doctor, the musician, the lawyer. She is both a realist and a dreamer. She walks with a swagger that is unique to her, woven with originality, leaving every heart spinning in a web of aching confusion, every mouth open, every jaw locked. As a fighter, she is swift, as a lover she is fluent. A woman wears her cape in a plethora of ways. Sometimes the cape drapes her figure, a dress that flows behind her, parallel to her shadow. Other times she wears the cape tied around her waist; it is the pink striped apron she wears every Sunday when she bakes for her family. Sometimes, though, the cape is not visible at all; the woman wears the cape over her heart, waiting to unveil what is both her greatest weakness and her greatest strength: her ability to love.
A woman both puffs and opens her chest. Sometimes, she puffs her chest confidently; she exposes herself to the world, mounting each day as if it were nothing more than another challenge. Sometimes a woman opens her chest; the colors spill out like melted crayons that drip and mix with the blood of her innocence; she is both afraid and she is daring. She has been slashed by the harsh blade of unfair expectations, but she rises above the erosions in her skin and finds a way to open up again.
A woman is more than simply a veneer of beauty; she is a bottomless, deep and infinitely flowing stream that is not constrained to a current. She ebbs and flows in surprising, new ways, leaving each element of nature captivated and held in suspense. To be a woman is to flow, both with others and alone. To be a woman is to wear an iron fist with bittersweet, wine lipstick. To be a woman is to be dark and meditated, while also radiating light and illuminating the souls of the hopeless. A woman can glow in romantic moonlight and make bloody sunsets bleed into saffron sunrises. A woman can both sing with the mountain and climb it.
What is a Jewish woman? A Jewish woman is a warrior. She fights with peace as her shining, gold-rimmed sword. She wears a shield of loving kindness on her left arm. She marches into battle every day, a heroine and a healer. A Jewish woman is the guardian of the family; her blood runs with the blood of the Jewish matriarchs. She builds a tree of life for her children, her loved ones and herself. A Jewish woman is the magical, beautiful force that was molded in God’s hands. She devotes her life to showing the world the beauty in other forces, like strength, open-hearted loving and generosity.
To be a woman, Jewish or otherwise, is to be undefinable. To be a woman is to be a threatening yet wondrous enigma. To be a woman is to be an elegant collection of mysteries. To be a woman is to shred the world up and place its ashes in a purple satin purse every day, only to rebuild it to be more beautiful the next.
Abigail Yadegar is a junior at Milken Community Schools in Los Angeles. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.