Phenomenal Woman

Today is the day of the woman aka International Women’s Day. I take time today to reflect on the women having an influence on who I am today.

My sister has always been a source of inspiration. While we haven’t always gotten along and we’ve drifted apart over the years, her strength, courage, conviction, and passion have always pushed me to be my best. She continues to inspire me each day when she steps out on a limb to try new things seemingly without a care in the world. She is so brave and believes in herself in such a way I aspire to one day. I’m so grateful to call her my sister.

My therapist is another strong black woman in my life. She has been there for me and challenged me in ways I never could have imagined. She has pushed me hard and called me on my shit time and time again. I am growing into a stronger person because of her belief in me. She leads by example and I am so blessed to have found her.

My bestie, Rebecca, is an incredible human and I am so in awe of her strength and determination. She and I have experienced some setbacks, but we came out on the other side. She has been to hell and back. She is my slice of heaven. I can’t believe we have been able to get to this point in our lives and I am so happy she has been by my side for so much of it. I truly look up to her and thank my lucky stars often she sticks with me. I love that woman to pieces.

Lizbeth, as I like to call her, is a God send. She has been my mom, my sister, my girlfriend, my friend - all the things. She has been there for me in ways I never knew I needed. When I need someone, I can count on her to be in my corner. She is selfless and does so much for others especially for me. While there are times I want to shake her because she doesn’t see how amazing she is, I could also squeeze hug her constantly for everything she has been to me. The Gabe and I love her dearly.

There are so many amazing woman who have taught me and been part of my educational experience who will never leave my heart. Ms. Savage, Ms. Best, Ms. Rehnstrom, Ms. Shalley-Leonard, Ms. Masten, Ms. Dehl, and others have pushed me because they saw something in me I still struggle to see in myself. They saw promise and I pray I am making them proud. I hope to be a source of hope for someone the way they were for me.

Doris, Diane, Mary Lu - While our close relationships are essentially nonexistent now, I will never forget the care and kindness they showed me and the connections we once had. When I so desperately wanted a mom, they filled that void. I am experiencing that void now, but it’s so comforting to know I’ve had those bonds and I can have them again in the future. I thank them for everything they have done for me - the hugs, the talks, the support, everything. I am so grateful to have had such strong women to look up to in my life.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou is one of my favorite poems. I performed it at the Teen Miss Milford pageant many moons ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a poem I still aspire to internalize. I don’t believe a woman’s strength comes from her looks or ability to bear children. It comes from her zest for life, her confidence, her belief that she is strong and capable. She knows she is a force and carries herself as such. All of these women are phenoms. They have shaped me into the phenomenal woman I am today. Thank you all for blessing me and helping me grow.