I have found myself often questioning what it means to be a woman in this day and age. And how to portray an image of 'woman' to my daughters...
How to act with integrity, but live with abandon,
how to balance the need for inner actualization and clarity of mind versus the need to be a part of a social stream and ensconced in technology and our fast paced culture,
how to fall in love but not be duped by desire,
how to trust without being naive,
how to be fierce but also to be soft.
How to follow my heart but also listen to my head...
For many years, since my divorce, many of my friends and colleagues have come to me seeking solace. I was blessed in that my struggle with my crumbled marriage and my reaction to the unraveling of it became a harbinger for many who needed a shoulder to cry upon, someone to listen without judgment, advice from friend who held dear the secrets of their relationships.
I have spent many years in denial of the beauty of myself as a woman. Whether it be from my turbulent childhood, or from my disgrace as I floundered and failed in a relationship in which I was so vested, or both, I am not sure. Maybe it was simply humility? What I do know is I could not look myself in the eye and say 'nice' things about me. I could critically stare for hours, commenting on my stubborn streak, my weakness when it comes to saying 'no', my nature to juggle too much and grow easily frustrated, my difficulty with dealing with conflict, my thighs with their little dimples or the stripes I wear on my abdomen as a reminder of two pregnancies...
It seemed I preached to so many of you about acceptance and truly I was far off from that place myself.... despite the calm demeanor I often presented. The image so many saw was not the me I felt.
But slowly, in the past year, I've begun to know a place of peace. I still find an occasional sluggish resistance in myself, but I know the glory of being a woman who is learning to accept the situation and walk away from the people and events when they do not reflect the calm I seek.
Most recently, I saw myself through the eyes of a young girl, a student of mine in one of my English classes. She bestowed upon me one of the sweetest gifts. Along with potted gerbera daisies was a note which was so kind and considerate that it made me feel like the most powerful and amazing woman. It lifted me up. I want to share this note. And thank that young lady who made such an impression upon me with her generous words. She has shown me that woman who I was hoping I was and have begun to believe I am.
I can only hope my daughters see this one day also and that they don't doubt themselves they way I have....and I hope that if you don't see yourself as a beautiful and amazing woman, that someone can help lift you up. And if you do see yourself this way, lift someone else up.... be their light.
I would like to thank you for everything you've done.
I love how you can walk into the classroom with a great big
smile on your face even when you're having a bad day. I love
when you sing while we're working and don't care who hears.
In addition, I admire how open you are with us students and
trust us enough to include us in your personal life. You tell us
about your hard times as a kid and how you are now a thriving,
single mom and hardworking teacher, but also a beautiful and
confident and strong woman, and I have the ultimate respect for
that. Overall I would just like to say thank you for all you've done
for improving my life in such a great way.