International Women’s Day 2016

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Today is International Women’s Day and I think of:

My mother, who died from Cancer 6 years ago. She was a Muslim woman, living in a country where she was treated differently, seen as less valuable, for not being born male. But it never stopped her. She was a woman, and that meant strength. It meant never settling down for less. It meant going for the things that she wanted, regardless of the amount of times she was told that she couldn’t. She was a woman, and that meant that she could.

My mother experienced a kind of oppression that I have never had to experience. She experienced Racism for the person that she was, for the color of her skin, for the syllables in her name, for the culture that she was a part of, and for the religion that she fervently and passionately believed in, loved.

My mother was a woman who shaped the woman that I have become, and the woman that I hope I will become, through the teachings and lessons that she passed on to me, through her life, and through her death.

My mother wasn’t only my mother. She was a woman. She was a friend. She was a sister. She was a lover. She was a businesswoman, a business owner, a rule breaker and a rule shaper. She was a dreamer and an accomplisher.

My mother isn’t alive today for me to tell her those things, to thank her, to congratulation her, and to vocally express my never ending support for the things that she does. And so, I write this to you, to no one, to every body, because she isn’t there to hear it. Today, tomorrow, and every other day, turn around and look at the women in your lives and tell them how proud you are, and how wonderful they are, and how great they are doing.

This is for the women that I knew, the women that I know, the women that I used to love, the women that I could not love, the women that I haven’t met yet, the women that I’ve judged without knowing, or too harshly, the women that have shaped the men and women in my life, and not. This is for the women of color, the women of faith, the women who aren’t straight, able bodied, cis, and all the women I haven’t mentioned here but that are on my mind.

Tell her all of this and more.

Happy International Women’s Day, mom.

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