On International Women's Day, I am inspired first & foremost by the women in my very own family.
My mom, Joyce, who experienced devastating loss &, as a young widower, left her job to go to grad school & create a better life for us, all while struggling with her own grief & managing my health issues. She graduated with her masters & has been the head of her department for more than in a decade - & in her late 50s, she got into Zumba, dancing, biking, & more, proving that it's never too late to find new hobbies.
My grandmother, Jeanne, z"l, who was the strongest, most headstrong, most outspoken & opinionated lady I ever met, while managing to be entirely likable, too. She campaigned for Democrats in a solidly red district & was a longtime patron of the arts, in addition to being an incredibly talented-yet-humble artist herself. Though she never finished college, she became a pillar of her community & amassed a self-made fortune through smart investments.
My aunts: My Aunt Sarah, a successful realtor & a consummate people-person whose business, organizational, & design savvy never ceases to amaze me. And my Aunt Joan, who has multiple degrees & has worked as a dental hygienist, a truck driver, a maintenance woman & more; she is
constantly learning & seeking out new passions.
My cousins: Emily, who kills it at a big-time corporate communications job while still finding time to travel the world & run marathons, & Grace, who dropped everything to live in Australia & experience new cultures before coming home to hustle at a million jobs that allow her pursue her many passions.
My sister, Ani, who fought like hell to stay in this country & make the best possible life for herself, a wild child turned hippie artist who now channels her love of life into gorgeous handmade jewelry.
And my new tribe, future mother-in-law Debra, sister-in-law Maggie, aunt-in-law Terri, & Grandma Mary Ann, women who are just as incredible as the women who raised me & whom I can't wait to call family.
I feel so fortunate to call family so many strong, intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, powerful, compassionate women. This International Women's Day, as we celebrate the past & look to the future, let's start by showing love & appreciation to the ladies who made us who we are & who impress us every damn day.
tl;dr: Strong women: May we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.