By: Jaime Misky
I am certain that I am a very lucky human.
To be here, the chances are incalculable. We possess this unique gift, this incredibly rare and truly slim chance of coexistence. How beautiful that is. How powerful, how utterly earth-shattering. It is groundbreaking to know one another and be in community as we are. It is a true honor, to know each of you and exist in your resilient, revolutionary energies.
Four years of intentional community, rooted in love and authenticity, have intertwined my path with the lives of humans of Norwood, astounding beyond words. A recent graduate of Xavier University, I held the privilege of being in community with Norwood through the Community-Engaged Fellowship. Moriah Pie, For the Life of the World Cafe, Lydia’s House, Woven Oaks, Friday Fun Life, the Norwood Gardens and Girls Safe space are the most poignant and prominent Norwood community sites that have shaped my heart and shaped my life. A pay-as-you-can pizza restaurant and breakfast nook, an emergency women’s shelter, communal and fiscal nonprofit, a children’s after school program, and a safe space for young women in the community — a wide array of types of engagement. The common thread? Community. Intentional, rich, deep community rooted in love and kindness. It has been an honor to be embraced in this community, to have been a part of such intentional care and kindness. One of the most significant joys and privileges of my life, to be a part of this space, a part of these people, a part of this communal love.
Lydia’s House is a home. A home occupied by women, in community with women and all the magnificent humans of Norwood. It is a home built in the name of women, for the love of women. It is a home that embraces guests and volunteers alike, offering a safe refuge and a harbor of hope amidst our wild world.
It is a labor of love, largely supported by women of all walks of life, all of whom have traversed their paths with immense fortitude, grace, and resiliency. It is a gift to be surrounded by such powerful women. They have cultivated a structure of support for women of all kinds to rediscover belief in themselves, be one with an intimately caring community, and leave Lydia’s House equipped with both the tools and the love to carry them far.
Each week, I garnered connection with women, with children, in community, in cooking, and with the deep cleaning supplies of Lydia’s House. Though objectively deemed “dirty work,” the housekeeping role and those who share this responsibility at Lydia’s House are integral to all other roles in community with one
another to not only exist but to flourish in supporting residents of this home. It felt purposeful, powerful; to be a part of something much greater than myself. It was an honor, to then, build trust with residents of Lydia’s House. To hold deep conversation, share laughter and meals, lead childcare efforts for the
mothers’ rest. Truly, it is difficult to explain with true justice the magic shared within the walls of this home, amongst the humans there. It is an honor I do not take lightly, to have been a part of and to have witnessed such beauty, such joy. Such connection! Such healing, such growth! Such love! I am certain I am a very lucky human. I have since graduated and moved from the tight-knit community that is Norwood, a community that embraces and loves unconditionally. It has been one of the greatest privileges to be a part of this community. This passage of time. To honor this sacred place. These magical people. This astounding community. Thank you for reading, for giving me your time, your energy, your love. I know the learning and growth garnered throughout the past years does not cease with my graduation. The learnings I have garnered through this experience will continue to impact and alter my existence for however long forever may be. Thank you for everything, you all will forever hold a special place in my heart.
A poem in reflection of the women of Lydia’s House and beyond:
I have never felt such powerful feminine energy in my life
It is women who get me through. It is women who lift me up. It is women who
cultivate growth in this world. It is women that create safe spaces of emotional
comfort and intellectual dialogue. It is the women in my life whose strength and
resilience courses through my veins, simply by association.
These women? These women. These women, are amazing. They are the fruits of
every difficult labor, of every evolutionary struggle. They are catalysts of change, of altering this world with drive and compassion. These women maintain a level of
resiliency that is unequivocally unmatched.
I love these women.
I am woman. I am sacred. I am blessed to be encompassed and enveloped in the
strength and magnificence of she/her/they/thems.
I am woman. You are woman. Or, whoever you are. You are magnificence with the knowledge that out there, this feminine energy exists. And you are incredibly lucky if you find yourself surrounded by the most divine, revolutionary, sacred energies in existence.