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Surviving the Womanhood Wilderness Experience

Posted on March 1, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Surviving the Womanhood Wilderness Experience

By dr. terri

Welcome to Women’s History Month! Let the celebration of our womanhood begin. And where should that beginning start? Let’s start with the real—what’s really going on inside so many of us. Let’s start with how we as women are surviving our wilderness experiences.

Now for those of you observing the 40-day Lenten season, you know it starts today with Ash Wednesday—the time when Christians are supposed to mirror Jesus being in the wilderness for 40 days. As He fasted and prayed there, He was tested in that desert—hungry, thirsty, hot, alone, and yet determined to stay the course. Sounds like a lot of us, right? Well, before I go any further, this is not a sermonic lecture. You need not be of the faith or any faith to get where I’m going, so keep reading. There is always something here for everyone.

So what struck me about the cross-sectional significance of Women’s History Month and Ash Wednesday is a biblical scripture (Isaiah 61:3) that reads: “[He has sent me] to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” What I like about these words is the idea of us exchanging our ashes—the burned remains of things that have died—for something beautifully alive to rest on our heads and in our minds. Just wow! I love the idea of being able to exchange beauty for ashes, mourning for joy, and a spirit of despair (or heaviness) for celebration.

Listen, as women (single, married, divorced, or widowed), our daily round seems to be made up of taking care of the needs of everyone around us. And for the most part, we do it brilliantly. We take care of business day-in and day-out. But who takes care of us at the end of the day? No, really. Who takes care of us when we are exhausted and at the end of our rope? Where is the crown of beauty, the oil of joy, and the garment of praise for all the booty (no pun intended) lost in our daily battles of life? We’ll wait for it…[toe tap here].

Often times we look to one another—the sisterhood—for that listening ear, that call-and-response, that “girl, I got you” moment. For those in healthy romantic relationships, our mates may be who we look to get peace and understanding. Even as adults, some of us may look to our parents or older relatives for words of wisdom. But let's face it, there are times when there is no one. Not a soul who is there for us the way we are there for them. This is what I call the womanhood wilderness experience. And we’ve probably all experienced it at one time or another. If you haven't yet, just keep on livin' my sistafriend!

So how do we survive our wilderness experiences? How do we get through the season of being hungry, thirsty, hot, alone, and yet determined to stay the course when no one else is really there? This month we’ll delve into this issue. If you have a story to tell on surviving your womanhood wilderness experience or you just want to share survival advice, feel free to be one of our Readers as Writers this month. Simply go to the CONTACT US page to connect with us.

Until next time, stay + y'all...


dr. terri is an educator, empowerment writer, and entrepreneur,

who provides education planning, writing guidance, and life-mapping services to the sisterhood and those they love.

To learn more about her services, visit For the online women's center, visit


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Reply june
11:09 PM on March 1, 2017 
"mama said there'd be days like this..." actually mama & daddy said. thank God they said & prepared me. "to thine ownself be true" has meant thriving as i walk out my womanhood wilderness experience.
Reply Alma Peterson
12:01 AM on March 2, 2017 
Thank you Dr Terri for this great article. It spoke to my heart and it is something that I have been asking myself almost daily how do I survive my wilderness experience. I am sometimes feel all alone since I
Lost my significant other and I depend on my Sista Girls to pull me up by the boot straps when I am low. Facebook had been a huge friend and all the good shows on TV help keep me going through my wilderness experience!
Reply Sherrine Boseman Rives
8:21 AM on March 2, 2017 
Reply SSS
12:34 PM on March 7, 2017 
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read. Hopefully you'll join us for other topics
Reply SSS
12:35 PM on March 7, 2017 
june says...
"mama said there'd be days like this..." actually mama & daddy said. thank God they said & prepared me. "to thine ownself be true" has meant thriving as i walk out my womanhood wilderness experience.

They definitely said there would be days like this...and they were telling the whole truth!
Reply SSS
12:37 PM on March 7, 2017 
Sherrine Boseman Rives says...

Glad you dropped by Sherrine. Come back again and again.
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