• Cary Martin Shelby

Freedom in the Face of Broken Hymens

Different measures of brokenness all too often try to determine the extent to which we can exist as daughters. Broken families can mean that you belong to no one, inhibiting your prospects to optimize your inherent gifts. Broken childhoods can translate into broken futures, making it virtually impossible to have families of our own. And as T.I. recently revealed, broken hymens can mean that you’re somehow insufficient as a daughter, damaging your abilities to grow into the woman that you’re conceivably destined to be.

Navigating this world amid these different measures of brokenness feels like an inescapable maze. They shroud our hearts with fear, tainting our neuropathways with its poison. Visions of our destinies become infected with preconceived notions of womanhood, that are fraught with tragedy and doom. The weight of their judgment crushes what little energy that remains for continual growth. Overcoming the layers of brokenness that they implant upon us makes perseverance feel hopelessly out of reach. As we attempt to climb out of the cesspool of those layers, they then blame us for our failure to persevere, further deepening our brokenness. A cycle of brokenness then reverberates across generations.

As I’ve navigated each sheet of brokenness that has been encrusted into my life, I’ve learned the art of dismantling them. Layer by thick layer. When a new one attempts to seep into my skin, I hurl it back into oblivion. And underneath those thick layers, I’ve discovered a vibrant core of freedom that is refreshingly joyful. It has unleashed an internal revolution which resides in a space of unremitting love. It’s a revolution that could potentially break perpetual cycles of trauma. Freeing legions of women from shackles of brokenness.

Within this space, I’ve learned just how free we have the potential of being. Free to define our own notions of womanhood, our own notions of what it means to be a daughter. Whether it means that you’re a daughter of the universe, free to continuously draw from the plentiful gifts that this world has to offer. Or daughters to our families, spreading our effervescent rays of devotion. Or daughters to ourselves, free to define your own terms of womanhood while loving yourselves unconditionally. Perhaps we are constantly moving through each of these spaces, and even through undefined spaces, deliberately embracing our glorious complexities.

I envision a world where we each make the bold decision to unleash our freedom. Where we beckon the daring revolution, which results from the simple act of loving ourselves. Breaking those chains of brokenness to clear the pathway to our greatness would then become the norm, not the exception. In the midst of doing so, you’ll soon discover that you’re not broken at all. You never were, and you never will be despite what they may have told you. It’s a mystifying discovery that makes me smile even when I’m all alone. Enjoying my own smile has in itself been a daring act of liberation. Quite simply, we are all free in the face of broken hymens. Let us not ever forget.

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