My women.

*I meant to post this during women’s day, but here it is…*

A list of the women in my life who have made me strong, kind and unbreakable…
My mother. The woman who brought me into the world. The woman who always picks up my calls, because she knows that sometimes, a girl just needs her mama. The woman who cries at hallmark commercials, because her heart is so big and feels so much. The woman I almost drove into a ditch while learning to drive down our country roads. The woman who knows exactly what to say and do to fix any problem I’ve thrown at her. The woman who still loves me, even though I told her I hated her when I was 16. The woman who works hard every damn day to support our family. The woman who first showed me that a woman can be the boss. The woman who cut out hundreds of paper hearts and wrote on each of them just how much she loved me. The woman who has held my hand as I cried over how hard it is to be a mother. The woman who has always reassured me that I’m doing it right. The woman who always brings the sunshine.
My stepmother. The woman who came into my family and treated me like a daughter, even though she had never been a mom. The woman who finally convinced me to eat something other than chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. The woman who has sacrificed so much for her children, even if that means missing her own home across the ocean. The woman has loved me as her own, even when I wasn’t on my best behavior. The woman who has always appreciated a good fart joke. The woman who has become my childrens beloved nanny.
My grandmothers. The women who taught me about love and life, while raising their own families. The women I can always call, just to say hi. The women who let me have the extra cookie. The women who let me stay up late, as long as we didn’t tell my parents. The women who showered me with love no matter what. The women who taught me to be brave, even when life isn’t easy. The women who brought me laughter and a warm place to stay whenever I needed a break from my parents (or my parents needed a break from me!). The women taught me that you can overcome anything life throws at you.
My aunts. The women who I have laughed with. The women I have drank wine with while we laughed about my cousins and their latest shenanigans. The women who have treated me as their own when I needed them. The women who have opened their hearts to my own children. The women who have led by example in my family, by creating an everlasting circle of love, warmth and support for all of us.
My mother in law. The woman who has always called me her daughter. The woman who gave me my husband. The woman who has opened up her doors and heart to us whenever needed. The woman who spends countless hours working so she can take her family to places where dreams come true. The woman who you know you can call when there’s an emergency, and know that everything will be ok.
To all these women and more… thank you.

Raising my daughters in the era of #metoo

I wasn’t shocked when the Harvy Weinstein scandal first opened up. Men in Hollywood and every other hood, abuse their previliges and power. They look at women as dissmisive and easy to use. I figured this was a normal kind of thing to go on in the media. Whatever. I’m thirty-one and I live in Michigan, this didn’t affect me at all.

 

Until it did.

 

I remember first hearing about the #metoo movement on the news. I sat down to watch and started to realize this was bigger than me. Bigger than you. So many brave, strong women moved out of their comfort zone and spoke up. They spoke up about verbal, emotional, and sexual assault. Suddenly, the Weinstein started to mean something to me.

I saw my friends facebook and twitter write their own #metoo story and I felt shameful for ever dismissing this epidemic. It reaches women here and there and everywhere. I can’t count the amount of #metoos I saw before I realized this might have happened to #metoo.

I had an experience during my freshman year of college. When I thought about it, it made me feel disgusting. I just pushed it back until I basically stopped thinking about it. I went to a party, I drank some alcohol, and a kind  gentlemen offered to walk me back to my dorm. I had been puking from the party and I was touched that someone cared enough to make sure I made it back ok. He didn’t just walk me back to my dorm, he entered my dorm, uninvited, and tucked me in. Looking back, he did all of those nice things so it would be easier to take advantage of me. He forced his lips onto my lips, and I remember thinking, ” This is not what I want, I’m trapped. I’m trapped.”

He kept pushing and pushing, and eventually I just ran out into the bathroom and violently puked. Puking probably saved me from an extreme sexual trauma, but luckily my body took over. It didn’t go very far, but it still made me feel dirty. I also felt guilty, because I had been drinking at a party. I should have been smarter. We always blame ourselves.

Although my story is very small compared to the stories of rape and abuse, I posted #metoo on facebook.

 

I lay awake at night wondering if my daughters will someday post #metoo. I’m terrified that at some point in their life, they will be hurt or abused. It churns in my stomach, it clenches my fists.

Raising children is the single, most difficult task for many of us. I want to raise them to be strong, smart and kind. I would blame myself if they found themselves in a similar situation. It would break my heart.

I’m doing my best to talk to them about their bodies and their minds. I tell them no one, not even mommy or daddy, is allowed to touch them if they don’t want anyone to. I tell them that they are strong before I tell them their beautiful. I them to value their strength above their beauty. I am trying to arm them with enough self-worth to make it in this sad, scary world that we live in.

But, I can’t protect them forever. They will have to make their own way someday. All I can do is repeat over and over again how much value they are in this world, and that no man or woman can take that away from them.

 

#metoo unites us all in recognizing a problem that stretches over women, chidren and even men. No change has ever happened over night, but we have to keep pushing and educating our children. We have to.

 

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I took a deep breath.

” I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am I am I am” -Sylvia Plath

 

I am blissful. I am beautiful. I am bountiful. I am alive. I am a warrior. I am brave. I am strong. I am loyal. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a daughter.  I am a sister.

 

I am worthy of all the gifts the world has to offer. I am.IMG_2554*I got this tattoo for my 31st birthday to remind myself of all of these things*

 

I am. I am. I am.