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On International Women's Day, Remember the Strong Women In Your Lives

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

May We All Be Strong Women


Strong Women Are Everywhere

On this #InternationalWomensDay, I've tried to take a few minutes to reflect on the strength of the women that are in my life.

There's my mother, who passed away October 26, 2004. She demonstrated a fortitude and a personal resolve to not allow cancer to rule her life and instead worked to the very end to try and beat the disease. She may not be a phone call away anymore, but she certainly still is a part of my life, as I am a part of her, and my children ultimately are.

My two girls, who are 10 and 14, demonstrate more strength than I think they realize they have. The oldest lives with general anxiety disorder and while I'm sure there are many days where she'd sooner hide in her bedroom and not deal with the world at large - to paraphrase a popular meme, it's too people-y out there - but she still gets up and goes to a school of over 1500 students. I'm sure it gets insanely overwhelming for her, but she does it and she's growing every day because she has to do it. My 10-year-old, on the other hand, makes it clear to many that she is not one to be pushed around, and if she feels that she is being taken advantage of, she makes it clear that behavior is not acceptable in the slightest. I'm very lucky as both my girls are learning to surmount challenges both large and small and are not in any way allowing the fact that they are girls (and possibly not as physically capable as boys in some respects) to stop them from doing what they want to or love to do.

I'm also fortunate in that I work with some of the best women I know. The department I work with at school is filled with some of the funniest, warmest, brightest women that make it really easy to work with. We share in our personal challenges and work together to make our professional lives and our students' lives better, and when you work with people like that, your job becomes that much sweeter. The rest of the women I work with throughout the school are pretty indomitable as well, and I marvel at all of them daily.

I train with a number of women at the karate school I attend during the week as well. There are those who have done shows that require them to show off impressive physiques - which takes a wealth of time and energy, particularly when it means you have to say "no" to that slice of cheesecake and glass of wine if you really want to do well, not to mention spend time away from the family on occasion to refine your poses and work with your personal trainer if you need to. There are women there that run their own business and compete in races as long as a marathon, and there are women who regularly roll with men on the jiu jitsu side of the floor. There are women who put me through my paces while sparring like no other person can, and there are women with whom I'm able to discuss our kids and our mutual parenting challenges.

What's the common thread with all of these women?

We work together to empower, rather than destroy, each other.

We know there is nothing to be gained by bringing each other down and instead try to lift each other up.

There's a whole generation of girls in the world today that look to us to be the example of what being a woman means, and while many of us continue to realize that the definition of "woman" continues to shift and evolve based on our personal circumstances, we know that we have to empower the generation that's coming up behind us because we also know that they don't want to experience some of the challenges we've faced simply based on our gender alone.

We know that while we might be tempted to pull our hair out because something is so aggravating we might want to cry, that teaches ourselves and those who might be watching nothing. As a result, we've learned to square our shoulders, remind ourselves that as women, there's pretty much nothing we can't do, and to face the challenges life throws at us head on.

So, on this International Women's Day, encourage and empower each other, and keep doing it until we're all convinced we can do pretty much anything.

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