scary women


Scary Women, we will haunt you is the opening verse to a song E'dena made up for the female contingent of our graduate acting class. She invented the song at a moment when most of the eight women in the class were fed up with men. I can hear her singing it now. Some verses were more threatening than others: Scary Women, we will cut you, but all playfully constructed to elevate our disappointment to laughter, our sorrow to connection.

E'dena encouraged us to be scary, not scared. Glennon Doyle Melton, a writer I love, says, "There is nothing more powerful than a woman who doesn't explain herself." Powerful women are scary to some. They don't explain themselves or ask permission. They don't apologize or defer unnecessarily. They don't languish in self-doubt or sabotage themselves. Scary women (in E'dena's estimation) make themselves happy. They show up and get the job done. They form community with each other. They laugh and they create and they love themselves. "Men come and go", my mom always says, "but you never break circle with your girlfriends."

Two years ago this week, the circle did break. E'dena, our Scary Women ringer, died. She slipped the earth. Her magnanimously brilliant, uncontainable spirit broke free. I miss her so much. I miss her singing Scary Women, we will haunt you. I miss her infectious laughter. I miss her wild heart, her edge, her commitment to big living and her baby soft skin. I miss her torrent expression and her demanding, irrepressible energy and frankly, her encouragement. It's like she saw beauty in all of us that we couldn't see in ourselves.

I wrote an email to many people recently about subscribing to my blog and I called them my "scared" community. I meant to call them "sacred". But nothing is accidental; the typo made me remember the Scary Women song and the echo of E'dena's meaning. I looked up sacred and scary in the dictionary to see if they have the same root word. They don't. Sacred comes from sacer (holy), sak (sanctify) and sacra (consecrate). Scary comes from skjarr (to make timid). Next to scary in the dictionary is the word scar, which comes from the root sker which means shit, literally excrement or dung.

E'dena understood scars and sacredness. Such scary shit happened to her and she made it her anthem; a holy song for connection and change.

Here's a song from my heart to you, Dean, oh Sacred Scary Woman:

I will keep trying to show up with laughter and tirelessness for my community, without explanation or apology but with love for myself and belief in healing, until the circle is complete again.