I remember this day on the playground in elementary school. I'm not sure what grade I was in, but I'm going to guess 1st or 2nd. I was playing with a small group of girls, one of them my self-proclaimed best friend at the time (and I honestly cannot remember who that was either). My ears burned when I overheard this best friend of mine call a different girl her best friend. I immediately proclaimed that this could NOT be the case because we were best friends. This poor girl was genuinely confused and upset, and ended up telling on me, complaining that I told her she couldn't have more than one best friend, tears rolling down her face. Looking back, she had it right, didn't she?
The competition sure starts early. The isolation, the jealousy. There's only room for one girl (or two, if you count the best friend) on the playground, yet there are a few billion of us on this planet trying to figure out how to make it all work. It starts young, yes, but growing pains are real, and soon you're 16 and tired of the race against your female family, holding onto dark eyeliner and the hope that you'll get it right . Then you're 23 and realizing how much easier it is to be a woman when you don't feel like you have to be THE woman. You thought you were running a race against femininity, but it was a relay all along. Those are your teammates jogging near you, not your rivals.
I think every March 8th that passes, the celebration of women becomes a little less taboo, a little more "normal". As it should.
What's abnormal is the fear of celebrating half our population.
International Women's Day is the day to celebrate the achievement of women. I love hearing the stories of strong social justice warriors or entrepreneurs or women in power. But I also love hearing the stories of those who just lived their best day today as a woman. You, who simply lived another day, have achieved so much.
Whether you've paid your way through college or glided through full ride. Whether you carried a baby for nine, tiring months or experienced the loss of a child or waited years to adopt. Whether you got up to exercise and move your body this morning or stayed in bed to nourish yourself with the extra rest you needed. Whether you worked all day at your dream job or worked all day so you could get one step closer to your dream. Whether your skin is dark, whether your skin is light. Whether your young or young at heart. Whether you cried yourself to sleep last night or peacefully drifted off.
Celebrate your achievement of living today. Take that deep breath of a new day tomorrow.
You are a strong girl, on the playground, with your one or five or ten best friends.
You are a strong woman, in the office, in the studio, in your home.
On March 8th, we are strong together. On March 9th, we are even stronger.