Today I would like to pay tribute to some women I have known.
My mother. Who taught me never to unquestioningly accept authority. Never to expect less of myself, or accept less for myself because I’m a women. Never to assume you know why others make the decisions they do. To accept other races and cultures and learn from them. To accept that each person has the right to control over their own body, because in the end it is all we really have. To always share what I have and be willing to take from others.
My birth mother. I could focus on the negative but instead I’d like remember how she taught me about fun and laughter and not taking the world too seriously. She taught me to accept myself at any size and since I have been many sizes this has come in handy.
skdadl who I have come to know over the past 5 years from blogs, boards and emails. I’m sure there were times she despaired of me, however, I have learned so much from her. And there have been times we argued but I’ve gone and considered her arguments and often amended my position because of her words. She has taught me about strength, friendship, kindness and good grammar. (though I fail miserably at the grammar)
Although there are too many to mention one by one, I also pay tribute to the women at Bread and Roses all of whom have taught me about having a strong voice, standing up for myself and others and being gracious in disagreement.
Though I don’t know them personally I’d like to pay tribute to the women that were brave enough to go against the religious and conservative voices of the day and fight for women’s rights.
To the women who continue to fight for a women’s right to choice. To the women who brave those who say the are pro life (and yet not adverse to threatening or taking life that is born) in order to exercise that choice.
Tribute to the women who live daily with violence yet manage to get their kids to school or hold a job and care for others while their own bodies and spirits are need of care.
Tribute to the women in war zones in constant fear of death, rape, loss of home, family and life. No quiet moment, no putting your feet up at the end of a hard day knowing that tomorrow may bring rest. No putting children to bed confident that tomorrow they will play carefree. Wondering where the next meal, or next mortar is going to come from.
Tribute to the women living in poverty, fending off questions from their children as to when they can get the cool toy or cool outfits the kids at school have. Wondering how to tell them Santa might not be coming. Having to go to food banks for dented, expired cans of food. The seniors living in poverty not knowing who will care for them should they become unable to care for themselves. To the widows who are romanticized in story and victimized in reality.
Tribute to the women whose fears cause them to live lives that destroy their spirits but who cannot make that next step. Who spend their lives pleasing everyone and lose their selves and their dreams in the process.
Tribute to those dealing with the pain of sexual assault. Many who have never been able to share their pain. Whose fear of being shamed, or ostracized kept their secret to be expressed only as nightmares.
My love and heartfelt wishes to each and every one of you, that you may see yourselves as the strong, smart, influential, sacred people you are.