Happy Women's History Month!
My birthday is in March. The most windy, blustery, grey, cold, unpredictable time in Idaho. March is not a pleasant time to be here. I spent a large portion of my life wishing my birthday was in July. I am a history lover. I love my country. I am the most patriotic person you will ever meet. It just made sense that *I* would be born in July--the same birth month as my nation. In fact, I used to tell strangers that I was born in July from time to time. But the truth is that nope--I had to be born in the armpit of months. March. Caesar was betrayed and stabbed in the back on my birthday. "Beware the Ides of March," Shakespeare wrote, and he wasn't just talking about the wind.
(btw, should anyone want to buy me the ultimate gift for my birthday, it is this little item...it's a Caesar pencil holder...and the pencils are...well...stabbing him in the back). Hilarious.
But then....then came the year that my first child was born--1987...of course--a year that would change my life forever in so many ways. I became a mother at the tender age of 20. And the United States Congress deemed March Women's History Month.
The gravity of that year was not lost on me, and still isn't.
I've loved having my birthday in March ever since. Because I am a proud feminist and activist. Marching has been a part of my life for quite some time. In fact, I'm pretty sure I came out of the womb with a protest sign--I turned around, looked at my dear mother, looked in the mirror and said "Well this is &$%#@! Did you see what we just went through?! That's gotta change right now!," and then I marched right from the hospital to the capital building to push for change.
It never occurred to me growing up that there were things that boys were "supposed" to do and things that girls were "supposed" to do. I grew up in the country. We just did the things that needed done. I have an older sister and two older brothers, and I got hand-me-downs from all of them. I played with Barbies and fixed tractors (badly). I didn't feel the sting of sexism until I was older, and when I did feel it man did it ever tick me off. I saw my mother work up through the ranks of our hometown sawmill office from secretary to division controller, yet still had to make the coffee for the boys she was the boss of every day. One of my first jobs as a travel agent included training other agents, and when accidentally finding out that a male trainee made more than I did (I had worked there for nearly a decade), I was told that the reason was because he was the "breadwinner of his family" (I was a single mother of two at the time). I have a billion stories I could tell you, but I won't.
This post is about sheroes.
I suppose I could say Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball..those were some of my sheroes growing up. It really was important to see yourself in movies and tv. But reflecting on my life now...at almost 51 years old...my sheroes are the women who came before me...the real women who "fought the good fight" before I was even aware there was one.
For my great-great grandmother, who was the second wife to a polygamist; who walked 3000 miles as a pioneer as a child, and fought off wolves like a Viking Warrior.
For my grandmother, who didn't live an easy life at all, and any joy she had, she passed on to me so I could have it.
For my mother--my ultimate shero--who made her career in the "man's world" long before it became trendy to do so, and she did it while wearing ridiculous panty hose and heels; and making coffee for her employees who got paid more than she did just because she was a woman.
These are the women who wear the capes. These are the women who have the superpowers. These are the women I want I want to do right by.
I know this sounds weird, but I can feel the women who came before me in me. It feels like a solemn responsibility that must be passed on to my children and grandchildren. Sexism isn't going away anytime soon; the #metoo movement reminds us all of that.
So ladies, tonight we may curl up with a good book and a cup of tea, because thank heavens we live in a world that allows us to do that. But there is still sexism in the world. There are still places where women aren't free to be anything they wish to be. And we aren't free until we are all free. So tomorrow, we put on our capes, and we become our own sheroes.
What's your superpower?