March 31, 2024

 

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th this year.

To be honest, I love the day, and I love the sentiment. But in the past, the day has pretty much come and gone for me. Which, now, in some hindsight, brings up all sorts of thoughts. Like, “How Gen X of me – ‘Whatever, nevermind.’” Or, “How privileged of me.” (I am the product of a private, all female high school, which planted more feminist seeds than I realized at the time). Or even, the suspicious, “Does this day inadvertently remove the rest of the year off the hot plate of patriarchy? Shouldn’t every day be International Women’s Day?” Or finally, the sad realization that I am in a male dominated field where to this very day, women are often denied a place in the conversation – by men in my field, but also by other women.

In any case, all of those thoughts aren’t leading me to this blog. Instead, what led me to more thoughts on International Women’s Day was a comment I mentioned in a prior blog of mine, made by my spin instructor.

“What if,” Grace said, “ . . . when we looked at another woman and thought, ‘She is pretty. She is smart. She is successful,’ we added, ‘And so am I.’” Now, I am a back-row rider in spin class. It’s a well-known fact about me. And good thing, too, because I think I actually fumbled the flywheel when she said that. I mean . . . whoa! Wow!

I haven’t been able to shake that sentiment since. I often find myself admiring other women . . . the way they dress, the boundaries they set, the confidence they exude. I admire their writing, their outgoing nature, their happy energy. And truly, most of the time, it isn’t jealousy (I mean, sometimes it is . . . Lord, I’d love some hair like Jennifer Garner). It’s just real admiration. But, I am less inclined to add the clause Grace suggested. Maybe I never have.

“And so am I.”

Powerful.

In several arenas in my life, I’ve recently been encouraged to talk to my body. To thank it for carrying me through a workout, or fighting off a cold so well, or even forcing me to rest. I’ve been told to congratulate my body for its recent journey through menopause. Or honor it when it does have a good hair day (“Hey, today you sort of look like Jennifer Garner’s hair! Good job, hair!”) A nurse said to me, “I know it sounds silly, but just try it. I think you’ll be surprised.” She was right. My body hears these things. I know it does – because, hey, I am my body! So, I hear these things.

All the same, I need to allow myself to also claim my writing talent, my honesty and straight-forwardness, my kindness. Even my shyer, more serious, and more introverted nature.

So, in conclusion, try it. Challenge yourself. For two straight weeks, allow yourself the compliments, “They’re getting it done . . . and so am I. They’re looking great today . . . and so am I. They’re a good friend . . . and so am I.”

Because you are. And so am I.