It’s International Women’s Day! I discovered this while I was waiting for the kettle to steam for our morning coffee and I found myself scrolling through the latest news headlines. I think it’s beautiful women have a day set aside where all around the world we can pause to celebrate ourselves and the other women in our lives that have helped shape who we are in our current season. To hold up those who have made an impact, big or small, and to look back on generations of women who have gotten us to where we are today. Our mothers our grandmothers and their mother’s too. Our birthmothers our best friends our teachers and coaches and sisters. All those generations and wonderful souls who came before and laid the bricks and taught us how to be a wife and friend and mother and overall decent human being in this precious life we’ve been given. Upon reading trending tweets and quotes associated with this day, I came across more than a few that sadly made me cringe, not only as a woman, but also as a woman who is raising one.
This is for Stella, I want her to know what her mama thinks about what it means to be a woman…
I want her to know that it’s okay if she wants to put on a glass slipper and that she doesn’t have to shatter a glass ceiling in order to be more of a woman. But hey, if that’s where life takes her and that’s the way she wants to speak her truth then “You go girl!” mama will support you. She doesn’t have to get behind a podium or a poster nor does she have to rise up with big words or boldness or anything for that matter to prove herself. She can be a hell raiser or not. She can choose a quiet life and a mundane path over a loud or busy one. She can run a company or work for one or sweep her floors or raise her babies at home. She can write a best seller or scribble out a dozen bombs. She can move mountains with the art she makes, the words she sings, and the poems she writes. She can underwhelm. She can bounce from job to job striving to make enough to provide for herself and her family or she can work for herself as her own boss and do her best to figure out the balancing act that requires. I want her to know that she can achieve all the awards and she can fail a thousand times, and that although the latter is far more realistic and humbling, both make her no more than a woman than she was the day her daddy and I laid eyes on her in the NICU and named her Stella. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to have children, but if she has them, they don’t have to come from her womb, nor do they have to nurse from her breast to make her any more woman than she already is. She can adopt, she can formula feed, she can let her babies sleep in her bed or in a crib or do whatever she feels is best because what makes her more of a woman, or mother for that matter, is none of those things.
The point is she can choose and that her path does not make her more of a woman. As her mother, I want her to know within the marrow of her soul that she is loved and wanted and worthy and those are the matters of substance.
Can you imagine the beauty and power that could come from women supporting women? And I am not saying we all have to get along and believe in the same things or choose the same road or lifestyle, for I enjoy and celebrate differences of the world. I know that life is not rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust, but if we took the time to offer love and respect in how we treat others and not fall upon hurt as our crutch if wounded or insecure or bored or whatever the reason being, I mean my goodness! Think of the progress, the truth, the joy that lies in the opportunity there. I strongly believe the way we choose to treat others, woman or not, is a strong reflection of our own character, and if we continue tearing other women down, whether it be from behind a computer screen or magazine cover or coffeeshop or with the simple touch of our phone screens, we are gaining nothing but more hurt and darkness within ourselves and the world we live in. I want Stella to know that part of being a beautiful woman means being one that lifts other women up and choosing something other than judgement when confronted with confusion or difference.
My hope and goal is to do my best in leading by example, speaking my truth and showing my daughter that women can be pillars of strength for one another. We can be there with our actions and our words and our banners and our hugs, but no matter what and no matter how loud or quiet our voice, we are all already women enough.