International Women's Day, Every Day
Today is International Women's Day - or yesterday, depending on when you're most likely reading this post - a day I would ordinarily let pass without much thought or fanfare, despite being a self-proclaimed feminist. However, as I struggle to articulate a theme for the seemingly small but profound connections I've experienced this past week, I am reminded that most originated with women who are bravely facing down cancer, heartbreak, broken dreams, and misogyny and that a woman living and speaking her truth is, in and of itself, incredibly powerful and inspiring and worthy of celebrating.
There is my neighbor of nearly two years, who, when I asked her how she was doing, without hesitation and with eyes bright and a smile on her face replied that she's recovering from recent colon cancer surgery and would be starting chemotherapy soon, as the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. She then shared that she was at peace with it all, having watched her sister struggle and ultimately lose her battle with breast cancer some 20 years ago.
Then, there is my friend who had the courage to recently put an end to a two-year relationship that had become emotionally abusive in the last year and, with it, her immediate dreams of a family and children of her own. Through it all, she steadfastly refused to succumb to family and cultural pressures that placed sole responsibility and blame for relationships squarely at the feet of women.
Furthermore, there is the stranger and artist who didn't just ignore the bold, red graffiti front and center on a popular tourist landmark deep in Trump country that proclaimed "Women Suck", on International Women's Day, no less. Instead, on the one day she didn't carry her paint materials in her car, she took a marker from her pocket and meticulously redacted it.
And last but not least, there is my nephew, age seven, who loves the women in his life fiercely and demonstrably, and I've got the "I love you" text messages to prove it. Better still, he repeatedly Facetimed me to ensure I came and visited him this past weekend. And upon me exiting the car in front of his house, he flew out of the front door, shouting my nickname, and hugged me with the tightest embrace. He then promptly offered up his leftover pizza from earlier in the day, made a palette next to me on the floor for movie night, and, once bedtime came, propped himself up next to me in the guest bedroom with his earphones and iPhone as he dozed off for the night.
So here's to the extraordinary women and male allies in our everyday lives, and to celebrating, appreciating, and supporting one another, not just on International Women's Day, but every day.
Photo Credit: Leslie B.