Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day

It's been a while since I've had a moment to have a thought and it has been quite a while since I have come here to share them. Life with a half dozen living children is chaos and beauty and all the things in between. That said, today I was thinking about International Women's Day and feminism and what it means to be a strong women and I wanted to get my thoughts down so that my own girls could maybe read them one day.

"I'm grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life." Maya Angelou

When I think of strong women, I think of leaders, of fighters of go getters and of women out in the world making a difference. I picture a woman who knows who she is and speaks her mind and makes herself a priority. I picture a woman who goes after what she wants and doesn't let anything stop her. I think most of us think of a similar picture.

Then I think of myself and the example I am setting. I dreamt of being a teacher for as long as I can remember but when I had Luke my dream shifted a little. My dreams have shifted so many times with each child who comes into our family and with each hurdle we jump over. I am a stay at home mom. I am not utilizing my college degree in the way I imagined I would, I am not out in the world making a difference, in fact I barely leave home. The woman described above IS a vision of strength and I admire her but she isn't the ONLY vision of feminine strength. 

The thing is, a strong woman doesn't look like any one thing. Being a strong woman can mean you are the VP of the United States, a Supreme Court Justice, a lawyer, a teacher, a CEO, a homemaker, a barista, a mechanic, a foster mom, or anything else your heart desires. Being a strong woman means using your strength for others. It means being true to yourself. That looks different for each of us and that is exactly what feminism was meant to do. We have a choice. Admittedly we have to more often than not work harder than our male counterparts to be recognized or deemed successful in the world but strong women are out there being champions for each other and for others.

So, maybe your strong looks like fighting court cases for the people who need a voice, maybe it is educating our youth, maybe it is a mission to Mars or creating a vaccine, maybe it means making sure your family has a warm meal on the table or folding socks, maybe it is leading our government or making coffee. Maybe it is being a shelter for kids who need you, maybe it is healing your own hurts so the cycle ends with you. It could be sweeping crumbs or managing a business. Maybe and quite possibly your strong looks like a myriad of things and it shifts and changes with life. Whatever your strong, sisters, I salute you. We are doing it. All of the things we are doing big and seemingly small are changing the world. 

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." Mother Teresa

Just remember strong means building your strength and then using it for others. Put your oxygen mask on first. The 2021 International Women's Day theme is "Choose to Challenge". We use this day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and I challenge all of us to do better this year than last, and better next year than this. Let's strive to challenge ourselves to be better versions of ourselves each day, let's strive to challenge ourselves and each other to speak out when things aren't right and to not accept things just because they are. Let's challenge each other to keep challenging each other and never settle. Here's to strong women everywhere. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them.

"Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It is about changing the way the world perceives that strength." GD Anderson