I have had the good fortune to know a myriad of strong women in my life, starting with my grandmother and mother, who were forces in their own rights, to my mother’s partner, Dorothy; my sister, Leslie; my three powerful and opinionated daughters, Sarah, Liz and Rachael; my oldest grandchild, Luna, who is the walking definition of smart and empowered; and now to my newest little granddaughter, Lyla, who at age 11 1/2 months already has a clear sense of her personhood, aided greatly by her adoring mom, dad, siblings, strong aunties and uncles, and two sets of grandparents who collectively think she is love personified. In other words, strong women are part of my everyday life, which makes me (and the many people those women encounter) better people as a result of coming in contact with them.
I could name countless strong women in my life from my sisters-in-law Joann, Sandra, Holly, Jaime, and Elaine, to all my beautiful nieces on both sides of the family, to my beloved Karri and her daughter Sophie (the wife and daughter of my nephew Jim), and countless women cousins, who without fail have proven they can stand up for themselves and make this world a better place.
And that doesn’t even include my women friends, who are many, and who are, without exception, wonderful champions of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and aspirations along with countless causes, careers and families. (A special shout-out to my Story Circle Network sisters.)
In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a single woman I know who is not powerful in her own right, even if sometimes she feels (or is) disempowered by others and has had to carry that burden with little hope that her external circumstances will change. The very action of carrying that burden of oppression is an act of courage and strength all in itself.
I love women. I love their kindness, their concern, their openness, their love, their willingness to give and give and give to all people, motivated purely from a good heart. I love hearing their laughter and stories and seeing them walk through life with such beauty and grace. I love their willingness to open up their hearts and minds and arms and pull you close and give you the sense that you are a special human being just for being alive.
I am not saying that women are perfect and I certainly know there are some who can be mean as hell, but, in my experience, the vast majority of women I’ve encountered have been good, decent, hardworking, smart and kind. They also have understood quite easily how complicated life and emotions can be and are the first to acknowledge that we all need a good dose of forgiveness everyday just because we are all so perfectly imperfect. And I say amen to that.
Here’s to women of all shapes, sizes, colors, faiths, nationalities and gender identities (I think that’s the right way to say that). I am proud to count myself among you and am absolutely certain that we offer solace in a world that is full of pain. We also offer lots of positive solutions and without one single doubt deserve equal pay. A second amen to that!
Here’s to equality for all since we can only truly move forward when we are all recognized as equals.