I started today with some yoga and prayer not thinking about writing a post for International Women’s Day. This seems ironic being that much of my focus and interest relate to community issues and empowering women. So here at 11:10 am, with the support and pressure from my loving friends, I am writing this after deciding that nothing be more suited than an open letter.
Between all the trouble and chaos in the world, a day like today is significantly important. It reminds us how important it is to celebrate every segment of society. To, whether we wish to accept things as is or not, recognizes that women too contribute to the society in significant and impactful ways. And while we may not always feel celebrated, it is a day like today that places great emphasis on the need to not only celebrate women today but every day. I don’t know who this letter will reach or how it will impact the reader but it is my hope that through open dialogue and conversation, someone, somewhere and in some capacity is touched by the words in this post.
To You, My Friend
I am writing to you as a woman, sister, friend, lover, businesswoman, student, daughter, wife, mother, leader, student, head of household and anything and everything else you are and can imagine yourself to be. I identify with all women as a woman. And while I myself may not be each of the things listed, I am writing in solidarity to remind you that I am as much you as you are me. I am writing to remind you that the very essence of life is you. To remind you that you are loved and you are worthy.
It is not at all easy being a woman. It is not easy facing our fears, to accept subpar treatment in all areas of our lives even when we ask for more. Circumstance and social practices doesn’t always grant us equality, fair treatment or value our worth. It doesn’t give us the right to make our own choices and sometimes removes choice all together. Sometimes we are asked to give more than we receive at home, in the workplace, in relationships, in friendships, in simply just being. We don’t always have the ability to live out our dreams, to be and do without scrutiny. We undervalue ourselves and our peers. We are misunderstood and misunderstand. We don things differently and that’s ok. We fail to admit when we fail ourselves and see failure only as so. We forgive too much but not often enough. We apologize when we shouldn’t. Our brains work overtime as we try to make sense of ourselves and the many things thrown at us from several directions.
Womanhood beautiful yet burdened with fear. Being a woman for me has meant heartbreak, failure, forgiveness, love, compassion, understanding, friendship, self-love and all the things in between. Being a woman means that between searching for, accepting and embracing all that I am I have learned to do the same in women around me. It’s an interesting concept to come to accept simply because we have been so preconditioned to tear each other down. We see it online, in person and pretty much any public space. We should not be ashamed to celebrate another woman’s beauty or accomplishments. We should not be ready to tear another woman down because of how she does things. And we should definitely not excuse ourselves from the equation or the problem. The more we fail our sisters, the more we fail ourselves.
I ask that we remind ourselves not only today but everyday that in recognizing all that makes us women, women (the fine and handcrafted individuals we are) that we don’t forget to celebrate the beauty in all of it. We must take more solace in knowing that we are not alone, to recognize that we are where we are for an intended purpose, and that we don’t have it all figured out. Life is about making sense of yourself in all capacities through failure and success. Seek to be inspired and inspire, to love and to be loved and most of all to be the woman you damn well intend to be. I ask that we fight to shake stigma, racism, self-doubt, ignorance, oppression and injustice in any way that we can. In full participation of International Women’s Day and womanhood it is as much my duty as yours to continue to find avenues that are more inclusive and uplifting for all women. And remember that despite the very best efforts to knock us down, we seem to get right back up. You are a vessel of greatness. You bring life, you breathe life, and you are life.
It is so beautiful seeing all the motivational and inspirational posts about women. There’s something to be said of certain movements that get people talking. There is this sort of inspirational undertow that we fail to see day-to-day. Imagine what a world we’d live in if we just found it in ourselves to say thank you to each other more or offer up a compliment or simply just write about how much we appreciate a women in our lives. International Women’s Day is a day for you. A day to celebrate women and all of our achievements. For you to realize that we would not be who we are without and the world would not be the same place without you. Do not fear what you don’t know, for your capabilities extend far beyond the unknown. The unknown is only dark until you shine your light.
I send this letter with all my love and hope that you find beauty in all that you are, all that you do and all that you are destined to be. And while I may never be able to relate to everything that you are going through or have gone through, I am here to say that your piece is a very important one to the puzzle. Happy International Women’s Day to my mother, my sister, my grandmother, my friends, my colleagues, the women who inspire me, Professor Dauphinee, Funke and to you.
We are strong. We are beautiful. We are enough. You are strong. You are beautiful. And most of all, you are more than enough.