Natalie Karneef


As a writer, I have a longing to tell the truth.

But as a professional career person, truth-telling is not so easy. I have an image to uphold; a service to sell. The truth does not fit neatly into glossy packages and high sales margins.

Our society is formed on getting bigger, better, more. Work harder. Wake up earlier. Get thinner. Be happier. Hide your struggles. And capture it all on Instagram as proof. We are becoming increasingly obsessed with perfectionism; with painting over our undesired feelings and situations, with numbing our pain. And it’s making us lonelier and sadder than ever.

I looked up “empowerment” in the dictionary. The giving or delegation of power or authority; authorization, it said. The giving of an ability; enablement or permission.

I believe that we are building an army of truth. Empowerment, to me, means we are lifting each other up.

Through art, through politics, through song, through social media, through spirituality: we are becoming more honest about who we are, about what we struggle with, and about what we need to be whole. And the more we do it, the more we permission we give each other to do the same. This, to me, is empowerment.

And this giving permission is how we lift each other up. Out of poverty, out of fear, out of discrimination. Out of depression, anxiety, shame. Out of feeling like we’re the only ones struggling.

An empowered woman tells her truth. She might start by telling it to herself, quietly, in her journal or her prayers. Soon, though, it seeps into her relationships, her family, her community. It makes itself known in her friendships, and even, hopefully, in her career. It touches other truths. And we all grow stronger, and kinder.

An empowered woman said this to me, and I’ve never forgotten it: alone we are amazing, but together, we are unstoppable. 

To view more from Natalie, check out Where The Hell is Nat? and Natalie Karneef

WriterCasha Doemland