I love that we celebrate women. It's neat to have a day to remember and read stories about women's strengths and accomplishments around the world. Some of my favorite women are celebrated - my sheroes, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Atwood, Dorothy Livesay, Toko pa, Elizabeth Gilbert, Margaret Laurence, poets, artists, scientists, and so many unknown brilliant women whose stories are only being uncovered and shared now.
One of my favorite websites shares stories and books like this on Facebook, A Mighty Girl, you may have seen it. But we all have a story to share, a poem to write, a song to sing, and what I want to celebrate today is the power of a woman's voice.
I have had the privilege of reading many, many groundbreaking books by women who dared to raise their voice, or come out from behind the polite conventional roles and speak their truth. These women, some of whom I have met or taken classes with - fellow authors and writers like Joan Borysenko, Nathalie Goldberg, Elizabeth Lesser, Dr Christiane Northrup, Jean Shinoda Bolen have spent time honing their craft, sharing their words, in groundbreaking books, helping to awaken women to their feminine power and the power of voice. They have used their own voice through writing, workshops, videos and public discourse, to gather the women and remind them of who they are.
I want to remember that although I was born in the 50's to a stay-at-home mom, not a power broker in the business world, I was given books, allowed to write and go to school, coached to excel at what I loved, and encouraged to find my passion. I grew up in a country where this was possible, in an era where it was mandatory even, to attend school.
My story is not really one of struggle, but I know women who struggle, even at mid-life, to find their voices. To speak their truth. Women of colour, women of privilege, women of different backgrounds. Women who were groomed to be good, to serve others first, to hold space and heal the sick and elderly. I feel sometimes that we are all motherless, that we have to dig deep to find those empowering stories, to move out of the old narratives and make a new story.
At least, that is what I want to do. I want to recover the wild spirit and bohemian nature of my own mother, who early on was overwhelmed with raising eight children, due to a Catholic rule that birth control was not allowed. She found a way around it, after #8 with the help of her GP, who prescribed birth control for the purpose of regulating heavy periods. Imagine a world where women had complete control over how often and how many children they raised or chose not to have, Even today, many women do not "own" their own choices about their bodies. I want to write the story of my creative, poetry writing, book reading and adventurous spirited mom, and I have begun.
I guess I am meandering around the theme of women's voices and women's stories. What I want to say is that you don't have to be a famous inventor, a ground-breaking scientist, a Pulitzer prize winning author.
Just tell your story.