To Strong Women, on International Women's Day
To Strong Women:
It has been quite the year. We've had our rights thrown into question by a majority-male administration and raised our voices in protest--by running for office, demanding equal pay, and reevaluating how doctors care for us. We've said #MeToo and started a long overdue reckoning. We've challenged old rules, created new opportunities, and been connected by the globalization of the female experience. We've made enormous strides and recognize that there's still many steps to be taken as we link arms to move towards progress and eventually equality.
I've been so inspired by all of you. The ones in the headlines and the ones I get brunch with on weekends. The ones who have started movements and the ones who raised me to trust I can move equality forward. I've also been reflecting on the attributes I see in you strong women and the typical synonyms like fierce and intense, don't quite encapsulate what I admire so much. So what makes a strong woman? What is it that I, and all of you, might want to teach our daughters as we embark on this new dawn of female fortitude?
The strongest women I know are not simply fierce or demonstrate grit. The times I've found all of you to be strongest is in the moments you revealed weakness or doubt. The times you showed humanity and empathy and caring in a masculine environment that requested you be anything but. I stand in awe of you when you lift others up--in various states of fury, sadness, determination, and joy. I smile when I see you laugh with other women--full belly laughs that make you double over and gasp for breath when the insouciance of laughing sets you free. I see you in moments when the anxiety reaches such a crescendo your shoulders rise higher than skyscrapers and admire the deep breath you take before transforming your face to resemble an embattled warrior. I find inspiration in the small every day moments, when you refuse to hear can't, and race towards can in a world whose very history questions your power.
As strong women, we contain multitudes. It is showing those multitudes, acting on them, and recognizing and applauding them in others that make us strong women. Not the man-like handshake. Not the triumphant fist pump. Not the icy practiced glare, but the very range of emotions that history has insisted makes us unequipped to lead... is actually what makes us indomitable problem solvers, creators, caretakers, scientists, engineers, writers, actors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, business women, [insert any job in the world here], and overall global leaders.
So, to strong women, and by that I mean all women, on International Women's Day--may you trust in your multitudes, may you find power in lifting each other up, and may you sit together with your toes in sand built from our progress, to watch a new sunrise.
This Strong Lemon