"I don't believe that an adult woman does not know what she wants to say."
Two years ago, Desiree Adaway wrote a two-line love letter to the sisterhood on Facebook using Dear Sister as her greeting. Today she continues to write those Dear Sister (not just cister) nuggets to over 10,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Using her Dear Sister posts as writing prompts, Desiree created a self-paced writing course, attracting 90 women this summer to write, reflect, discover their own voices and be inspired by themselves and each other.
Through her daily posts, her writing course and a soon-to-be-released deck of cards, Desiree is propelling women, of all definitions, to find and use their unique voices and power.
This is her story in her own words (edited for space and flow).
Dear Sister (not just cister) is a love letter to the sisterhood. It's messages of encouragement, strength, love and support. They're nuggets to reflect on how you're living your life.
I wake up every morning, I make a cup of coffee, I grab my phone, I get back in the bed and I write a Dear Sister post.
And every day someone says, I needed to hear that. Every day someone's like, that's a word and I really needed to hear that today.
That's, for me, the best part about doing it.
Prior to the Women's March, I would always just say, “Dear Sister.” SISter. Then the Women's March happened. I started seeing a lot of signs that connected womanhood with genitalia, and a lot of my trans friends and followers on Facebook were really hurt by that. So, I changed it after that. Now I say, “Dear Sister (not just cister)” I wanted everyone to know that this was for them.
I hear from a lot of women who are like, I don't know what to say. I call BS because you're a grown woman, you know what to say! You may be scared to say it. But I don't believe that an adult woman does not know what she wants to say.
Finding your voice is not always easy because we've been socialized to not find it. We've been taught that once you step out of line you get punished. And I think that women of a certain age don't really care anymore. You say the things that need to be spoken.
Speak up and say what it is that you want to say, that you feel is really important to say.
Like any other muscle, you have to do it regularly.
You can follow Desiree and her work here.