Its International Women’s Day! And if you are threatened by that, its ok – I understand. Weak men have always feared strong women (leans back, sips imaginary tea). Strong men appreciate strong women. Incidentally, weak women also fear strong women. A strong woman will be seeking to build up those around her. The weak try to tear others down to their level.
You see what I did there? If you are offended- good.
But what I really want to do is celebrate some of the amazing and badass women who have inspired me along the way. Through quotes, because I gotta me be.
Glennon Doyle is one of my favorite people on the planet. She is unapologetically authentic, and she works tirelessly to spread love and acceptance. She’s also not afraid to speak up and advocate for things that must change. Along with a number of other amazing women, she is part of TogetHER Rising, a group that harnesses the collective power of women to make change. Recently, through small donations, they raised millions of dollars to support children who were separated from their families at the border. You should absolutely watch her TED talk. And her two books (Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior) are funny and heart wrenching and real and powerful statements on unbecoming who the world is telling you to be, and becoming instead who you are. She also has a blog at Momastery (don’t let the title fool you if you are not a Mom – its got loads of other great stuff for women).
With all these women, it was incredibly difficult to choose just one quote. Of all the women in this post, I found Nanea Hoffman most recently – probably 6 months ago. I love her focus on self-care. I love that she is a fierce advocate for artists who’s work is used without permission, and without attribution. And while I don’t drink coffee (I KNOW!!), I love that she understands the miraculous healing powers of a warm drink and a cozy blanket (and not peopling for a while). Check out Sweatpants and Coffee on Facebook.
I’ve followed Tanya Markul (aka Thug Unicorn – Facebook) for a couple of years now. Her writing style is real and raw. She journeys through pain and a thousand scars to say ‘that was/is a part of me, now I am more.’ She also has a book! The She Book is a collection of short writings that speak both from and to the soul. She embraces the darkness as a counter point to the light that we all have – and can create around us.
Maya Angelou is someone else who channeled their personal darkness into beauty. Her words flow over me like a warm breeze and there is so much wisdom there. She was truly a genius, and a genuine soul.
You have to admire the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt was no shrinking violet. She truly reshaped the role of First Lady, and effectively served as co-president during FDR’s terms in office. She regularly attended meetings or engagements in his stead, particularly if his mobility was a barrier. If you don’t believe me – watch ‘The Roosevelts’ (a documentary by Ken Burns). Why? Because I had to that’s why. My husband has an unnatural attachment to Ken Burns’ documentaries.
Cornelia ten Boom was the spinster daughter of a clock maker. During a time when women generally married and ran a home, she chose to be educated as a watch maker. When the Nazi’s began taking over Holland (her home), she became involved with the Dutch underground – smuggling Jewish people, food vouchers, false papers, etc. Eventually they were discovered and sent first to prison, then to a concentration camp. Corrie lost her sister and father, as well as other family members. Her faith was her mainstay – although she does not shy away from her doubts. From her, I learned to be thankful for the fleas. ‘The Hiding Place’ is an amazing read, I highly recommend it.
Most of us know who Harriet Tubman was. A runaway slave that became a conductor on the Underground Railroad – helping other slaves escape to freedom. Actually – a great resource on Harriet is the Nathan Hale series ‘Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.’ My son has learned a lot about history, and the information is well researched – and also entertaining. To me, Harriet’s words remind us of a time in our history we can’t afford to forget, and can also speak to any survivor. Just. Keep. Going.
I have made no secret of my love of Harry Potter, and thus, for Joanne Rowling. The scope of vision it takes to create an enduring universe that lives and breathes is astonishing. However, for all the amazing quotes (they’ll get their own post sometime), this one is my favorite. It reminds us all there is no ‘safe’ path to achieving anything.
Brene Brown is a researcher on shame, vulnerability, and courage. She has a number of books available – as well as a TED talk (which is always a good place to start). She reminds us all that we can never be truly courageous without being truly vulnerable. She also teaches that vulnerability cannot be forced with oversharing, it has to come from trust. Shame is toxic, and its antidote is empathy.
While we are on the subject of strong women, let’s dispense with the idea that strong women don’t cry. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I will again – strong women are entitled to the entirety of their emotions. All of the feels. You can be strong in tears. You can be strong when you hit bottom. You can be strong when you panic. Feel what you feel. Then get up, and go. Glennon Doyle would tell you there’s no ‘either/or’, its ‘and/both.’
To all the amazing women out there – I love you. I love how you are strong in a thousand ways, and they all look different. (I see you guys out there too – way to go for being strong enough to love strong women – together we change the world).
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