To the Women who Most Inspire Me on International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, I woke up feeling a little bummed.

I tend to push my own boundaries as hard as I can, and sometimes create standards that are unfair to myself.

I started today feeling like I wasn’t enough, and then remembered what day it was.

Today is the day that allows me to let go of all the pressure I feel from both within and without, and simply say, “I am who I am, and that’s I all I need to be.”

I can boast being a woman with pride, because this is a group I am so lucky to be a part of.

Women have done, and continue to do, amazing things.

I am in awe of what we’ve accomplished, especially those who I am closest to and those I watch most closely.

On this day, rather than worrying about who I need to be or all that I have left to do, I want to focus on appreciating and thanking all of the women who helped get me to where I already am—who have helped me get everywhere I’ve ever been.

To my mother, my sister, my very best friends who have never left my side, my two grandmothers, my late godmother, my coworkers past and present, and to all of the women who stand up for themselves and for what they deserve every day, thank you for being such incredible sources of inspiration.

Thank you for living to the fullest of your potential and loving bravely every single day.

Thank you for doing this with me.

Thank you for your strength, because it is the very thing that holds me up when I am too weak.

Whenever I want to give up or I feel like I’m getting nowhere, I look at your amazing accomplishments and I am inspired all over again.

Whenever I feel like I won’t succeed or that I don’t have the stamina for this long uphill battle, you are there making sure I don’t fall behind.

Your words of encouragement are the sturdy hands on my back.

Your battle scars are the very reason I can wear my own with pride.

Thank you for your grace, especially that which you give to your fellow women.

Most females are assumed to be petty and hold grudges, and a lot of times I feel like our minds are just wired that way.

Too often I’ve felt the immature side of me that still exists tugging on my emotions and pushing me to press on with anger when I should be letting go.

But I have seen the women in my life put down their swords and have the sense to realize that we all are on the same team.

I’ve watched my mother take her white flag and lovingly wrap it around another woman who stabbed her so deeply, and though we have never really spoken of it, it’s the greatest lesson she ever taught me.

Thank you for your genius, because your minds can change the world, and they have already changed mine.

In a world where unique thought and brain power are underestimated and undervalued, I am surrounded by so much intelligence.

I have benefited from both the problem solving and the astonishingly clever thoughtfulness that come from taking the time to learn something, or someone, and putting that knowledge to good use.

Being smart is one thing, but using that gift to become a doctor and improve people’s lives, or to help properly shape the minds of the next generation, or simply to figure out ways to help bring someone back from a dark place are all so important and I’m proud to know women who use their minds to do beautiful things.

Thank you for your honesty, because I was starting to believe that truth was dead.

When it’s too risky to speak the truth, many of us retreat into lies.

When it’s hard to show who we really are, the majority of people hide behind fake versions of themselves, or of someone nothing like themselves.

Many have abused, distorted, and impersonated truth in order to manipulate others.

But nothing is actually accomplished this way, except further damage to the world and the growth of a society where no one is able to trust anyone else.

Now, standing in that very reality, it’s easier to just stay quiet.

But the women I love continue to be louder than ever.

They say the difficult things that need to be said, regardless of consequence.

They honor the truth, they respect those around them enough to tell it, and they allow me to walk through life knowing that real people, real values, and real selflessness exist.

I shudder to think of who I might become without that truth, that candidness, and that bravery constantly reminding me of who I am, of who it is my responsibility to be.

When I woke up today I felt defeated and uninspired.

All it took was a reminder of what day it is, and of what that day means, to completely change my feelings.

All I had to do was think of the names or picture the faces of the women who give me hope every day, and my problems no longer felt so daunting at all.

Thank you for being who you are, and for refusing to compromise that for any reason.

On the days when it is hard for you to keep going, please remember that you are the reason I do.

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