Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I didn’t do anything to celebrate and I didn’t even acknowledge my fellow women who are friggin bad ass and ruling the world. Was it because I don’t appreciate them in my life? No. It is because one of my friends, a strong ass woman, died during childbirth on that day, and for me, that is what March 8th is about. It is about her birthday, her daughter’s birthday and the loss of my friend. So, on that day, I have a hard time celebrating anything. However, today, I was reminded on a regular basis how fortunate I am to have such strong, independent and compassionate women in my life.
So, who are the women in my life?
Well, I come from a long line of independent and strong willed women and for that I am grateful. There are the women who came before me of course, but then there are the women who I knew as well. I had a grandmother who had twelve kids while running a farm and raising them all. I had a grandmother who lost her hearing in the middle of her life and never let it slow her down. I have aunts, on both sides, who are independent, strong and have faced a bunch of life challenges with an amazing level of grace and understanding. Women who have birthed and raised, and fostered their own strong women leaving me with a slew of cousins who are just as fierce as they are.
I have two sisters. Both have very different personalities and traits but they are also all that encompasses what it means to be a woman. There were no men in our house besides dad, and it did not even matter. We did, handled, and worked in all the aspects of our house, regardless of gender, teaching us skills that make us who we are today. And for that I would thank our mom. Mom did not care that we were female and just taught us that we can do anything that a man can do, and usually better. My mom is straight up bad ass. Athletic, intelligent, creative, independent and loves unconditionally. I get a ton of my traits from her and I wouldn’t have it any other way! My fierceness and strength started from my mom.
Then I have those friends. You can read my previous post about the power of friendship, but either way, each one of them are amazing in their own right. They face the pressures of society, the expectations and sometimes even the dismissal from the male sex, and keep on rocking on regardless. They are able to face those adversities and quietly, or sometimes loudly, give them the finger. They are fearless, fierce and feisty and I LOVE each one of them. They teach me how to not only be a better friend, but a better woman as well.
And then there are my work girls. I work in an environment that is mainly run by women. Or, if there is not a woman directly in charge, there is a woman right underneath keeping things in line. It is absolutely amazing to see! I see on a daily basis a variety of different women of different backgrounds handle crises, and problems and high stress environments with no hesitation or fear. They are bad ass bitches who get shit done. Every day. All day. And it is amazing to watch. There are men around sure. But those men see these girl bosses come through, step aside (sometimes in intimidation) and say kudos to you all. You got this. You are rock stars. We will just stand back and watch. And man, just watch us go! We go hard, fast and without fail. It is amazing!
Amazing is exactly how it feels. It feels amazing to be fortunate enough to spend a significant amount of time with the women around me who are exactly the type of women that the world needs to keep things spinning. Do we still face discrimination and be treated with less respect sometimes because we are female? Yes. Do we have men coming into conversations or meetings and try to tell us how to do things while making them more complicated? Absolutely. Do we still have to handle sexual innuendos or inappropriate touching? Unfortunately that is also a yes. Do we still get called a bitch or argumentative when we are assertive, or voice an opinion? All the time. But, we are also making waves.
We are making waves when we go to work, or school, or a social event while bleeding like crazy and having pain that recently has shown to be as intense as heart attacks. We are making waves when we are calling those men, whether friends or strangers, on their crap when they say or do something inappropriate, showing those boys need to change their behaviors too. We are making waves when more and more of us move into higher positions and show all those naysayers that not only can we handle it, but we excel at it while looking hot as hell too. And we are making waves when we say, and challenge, that we as women, all women, deserve the same level of equality as our male counterparts. We are human. Period. And our sex does not, and should not, matter.
Except it does.
If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have to have things like International Women’s Day to celebrate those life-changing, powerful and strong women. We wouldn’t have to explain the decisions we make with our bodies to our doctors, to our governments or even sometimes to our families. And we wouldn’t have to fight so damn hard to make education available for young girls everywhere, or a wage balance that is based on work, rather than what is between your legs. And we wouldn’t have to worry about pissing off a man (who may even be reading this post) because we are expecting them to be better. We are expected to be better all the time.
So, how do we not get discouraged? Days like yesterday. Posts like the one above. Awkward conversations that challenge the status quo. And most important of all is for us ladies ourselves. We need to continue to empower each other, lift each other up and learn to love ourselves as sisters, wives, mothers, friends and everything else that being female may entail!