My mom was the perfect example.
International Women’s Day is meant to be celebrated the way we celebrate someone’s life who has passed on. After someone leaves, all we’re left to think about is the impact that they left behind; their imprint…on our hearts, on our minds, on who we’ve become despite whatever adversary their death has plagued us with. International Women’s Day is just like mourning my mom; I remember her life, her legacy, her vitality, and above all her fearless strength.
I’m not so hard core into feminism because I’m okay with the state my life is in. I can vote, can have – and have had better jobs than my male counterparts – decide to stay home and have children, decide to never have children, can cook and clean just as fast as my fiance can do all the housework instead of me; essentially, I love my freedoms, but trust me when I say they aren’t without struggles to get here.
I’ve been abused. I’ve been scared. I’ve been fearful. I’ve been cat-called. I’ve been scared to walk to my car at night; scared to walk to my car in a sunny afternoon. I’ve been humiliated and embarrassed and taken advantage of. I’ve been walked all over. I’ve been a booty-call. I’ve been mislead.
And now there’s a day when we all collectively come together to say that despite all that bullshit, we overcome, we survive, we brave the storm and we come out stronger and more unified once that storm passes. We are the thunder. We are the lightning. We are the forces behind the storm we weather.
I think about my mom and how she was taken advantage of, how she was held up by gunpoint. I think about my mom getting diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. I think about that same cancer carving a path and setting up fucking camp in my mom’s brain. I think about her in that plain, shiny white coffin with her blue eyes closed and her lips carved into a flat smile and at that moment, all I could think about was the legacy that beautiful, lifeless person left on the world.
It’s sad how such a beautiful life can be filled with so many rotten potholes.
But it never deterred her. It never stopped her. Her fearlessness was an attribute I’d come to admire the older and wiser and less reliant on others I became. She was a woman warrior if I’d ever known one; standing guard in her battle clothes, shiny and damp with sweat and perseverance, her body armed and her mind able-d, ready to face those violent enemies head on. I stood behind her, watching her every move, mirroring them so I too, can be the woman I am today: strong and in my battle clothes, able to take on whatever complex situation awaits me.