When I was growing up my friends were mostly boys. The older I got the fewer girl friends I had. I found boys to be less gossiping, more accepting and they didn't form cliques like girls did. Boys didn't get caught up in all the things girls did. I couldn't keep up with the "cool clothes"--my family didn't have the money for that. I wasn't allowed to wear make-up, so I couldn't talk about all of the fashion stuff girls did. Looking back, I just didn't fit in with the girls, so I hung out with the boys. This was true even in college and afterwards.
Then, I got married. I suddenly had a family: a husband and two stepsons who lived with us full time. I needed advice from women. I was blessed enough to meet a woman, D., who became one of the most influential people in my life. Aside from the hundreds of things she taught me about raising kids, being a wife, and being a woman, she also taught me the value of women. She showed me the incredible strength women have, the wisdom, the kindness and the foundation women can give to those around them. She changed everything for me.
Now, 15 years later, I understand that women truly have the strength to change the world. That is one of the things I love about my job, the women. I work with an amazing group of women, but I also get to see everyday the incredible gifts that women posess as mothers, friends, support systems, and wives. I feel empowered by the strength I see everyday in women who give everything they are to raising children and to creating homes, families, and communities.
This Saturday is International Women's Day, a day meant not just to honor women but to unite them in making a better world. I don't understand why we don't celebrate this holiday in America. I wish we did. Women getting behind a cause can change everything.
Every year a theme is assigned for Women's Day, and this year it's, "Inspiring Change." I love this theme and this idea! I ask myself what would I change? As a woman business owner I feel obligated to say that I would encourage all women to feel empowered to own their own businesses, but I think it is deeper than that for me. The change I wish to inspire is to raise girls with a strong sense of self. I believe that a girl/woman who believes in herself can change the world. There is a stigma oftentimes around women with self-confidence, and I believe that needs to go away. We should not feel guilty or selfish for asking for what we need, for demanding from life what we want, and for believing we deserve to have respect, love and equality on our terms. I would encourage women to stop feeling guilty and to feel confident that everything we are doing now is enough, we don't have to do more or be more.
I have a grand daugther ( a step-grand daughter) who is 10 years old. I see a fire in her that I don't want extinguished by society. I also see a self doubt creeping in that I don't want there. I want her to hold on to the fierceness she posesses. The girl who believes she can and will do what she wants (to run an animal shelter caring for sick, endangered, and homeless animals.). I know her ideas will change but I don't want her determination to change. I don't want her to be distracted by cliques, and trying to fit in to some crazy stereotype that exists. I want her to stay strong enough to say "This is who I am and I am amazing!"