For me, this year’s International Women’s Day is deeply personal. It is a celebration and acknowledgement of the amazing circle of women who inspire, encourage and support me.
Last fall depression came knocking on my door. I struggled, stumbled and fell. But instead of hiding, I spoke my truth. The rally from my circle was overwhelming. I was full of gratitude and awe. Friends and family, both in person and on-line, reached out to lift me up when I needed it most.
Looking back, the evolution was so natural, so subtle, that at first I wasn’t even aware of it forming. But through life’s experiences – education, work, recreational activities, conferences, meetings, travel, and even on-line connections – my circle has grown and is diverse, dynamic and robust.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more cognizant of what I admire, respect and value in the women around me, both personally and professionally.
Authenticity. Gratitude. Kindness. Joy. Compassion. Empathy. Humour. Positivity. Encouragement. Dedication. Fearlessness. Teamwork. Determination. Life-long learning.
I am fortunate to have so many phenomenal women who support me not only within my comfort zone, but also nudge – or sometimes pull me – beyond my safety net showing me how much more I am capable of accomplishing. They help me shine brightly when all I want to do is hide under the covers. They celebrate my successes and help me learn when things don’t go as planned. They point me in the right direction when I’m feeling lost. They laugh with me, dance with me, listen to and stand by me. They inspire me with their intentional lives, acts of kindness and bravery. Their presence in my life has made me a better person. Knowing they are there for me is both reassuring and empowering.
Allowing myself to be vulnerable and honest about my struggles last fall made me acutely aware of the expanse and depth of my circle. A reminder to continue to build, nurture and embrace it. A reminder to express my appreciation to the incredible women who inspire and support me.
This quote sums it up well. Here’s to my circle and to yours. Happy International Women’s Day!
“A circle of women may just be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get Naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle. You will be changed. The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it. Please, please allow it.”
― Jeanette LeBlanc