Today is a new day. Today is the day we don’t allow anyone to finish our sentence, to cut in front of us in line, or explain to us what we just said.
Today we will step out in front of our own stories, being confident that our experience, our sweat, and our blood on the path is worthy, and filled with wisdom. We will not be made small, and we will do so, by not making anyone else small. This is not a day of me, vs. them. It is a day of rising tides. When someone blows off your story for a man’s, do not tear down the man, or his story. Tell yours again. And again, because it a story that demands to be told, and be heard. His story is not the problem, the lack of recognition of our story is. Since the beginning I have been judged on the merit of ‘pretty’ and ‘nice’. Not how much I could carry, how many people I helped, or even how much money I made. No, ‘pretty’, early on, became the word that would haunt my life. A haunt so deep, that at a raw, intuitive level – I began to feel as though my story did not matter, if I was not pretty. People all around me would say, and still do – ‘oh, she’s a pretty girl’, to describe a subject of the conversation. Not, ‘oh so-and-so, yes, she runs her own business’, or ‘yes, we’ve met her – you know she raises 3 kids on her own and still volunteers at the animal shelter every Wednesday?’ How about the woman who just bought her first house by herself and moved in, by herself? The one that went to the war — you know, like all of the men who’s pictures get hung like banners in your hometown, or who get up everyday and take care of their families, raise their children, and still get to work on time, do the grocery shopping, and make sure the entire thing doesn’t burn down?
Or the one who’s life details you don’t really know, but every time you see her, she smiles a smile full of warmth and compassion, asks how your day is going, and has something smart, interesting, and kind to say?
But is she pretty?
Maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s the most beautiful creation you’ve ever laid eyes on, in her slightly messy hair, ill fitting shirt because it’s all that was clean and she stayed up late working on her business instead of doing laundry last night, and sandals that expose her tired feet that have walked a million miles through life and don’t even want a pedicure, they’d rather have a new pair of shoes so she can walk farther.
Yesterday she let them finish her sentences, and explain back to her, in their words, exactly what she had just demonstrated she knew. Yesterday she tugged at her shirt and smoothed her hair as to not offend anyone’s eyes or be ‘unsightly’ on the grocery store red carpet. Yesterday she say quietly as the world revered his story, and his story, and his, and made no mention of her.
That was yesterday.