There is no way to list all the women in history who have changed the world in which we live.  Just the same there is no rubric for which ones deserve the most acclaim and the unique privilege of being written about in the blog of yours truly.  If I sat and poured over the timeline of women’s history, I’d end up with an overwhelming number of women who made it possible to even have such a blog, or even the ability to read and write.  Let’s get a little more personal than all that and honor the women who have made the most impact on my history.  The list is long, but I will cover a few.

Let’s start at birth.  I come from a long line of strong women on both sides.  My great-grandmothers overcame hardships and stigmas, and sometimes had to be a little creative or daring,  to make sure their families were provided for.  While one worked as a Rosie the Riveter, another sold moonshine from her basement during Prohibition.  My grandmothers  joined the work force as career women.  My mother, a diabetic since early childhood, knew the risks of continuing her pregnancy with me but did it anyway.  She lost her sight in the process.  Not only did she adapt, and being discontent with being “disabled”, she flourished in both her career at a local community college and her personal life.  She made sure I always knew I was loved, and she never sacrificed a good time.  Beautiful both inside and out, she taught me through her actions and words that grace and strength are not exclusive to each other.  Without this I would not be the woman I am today.

There have been several teachers in my life who have made a huge difference.  My 5th grade teacher, Ms Borges fed the writing bug and encouraged me to write poetry.  We still talk to this day.  She may be appalled to find my writing success is thus far limited to the scope of a blog.  Then I went to high school, an all female, former boarding school connected to a Catholic convent, whose catch phrase at the time was, “Where Young Women Exceed Expectations!”  There I encountered the likes of Ms. Sutter, lovingly referred to as Ms Debbie.  I may have been less than adept at the French language, but I learned invaluable lessons about individuality that have given me the courage to be the woman I want to be instead of the woman others want me to be.  There were other women on the administration who inspired me and taught me more about myself than about the subjects they covered, because while I remember very little about high school physics I will always be prepared to prove my worth and strength as a person rather than as a woman.

Last but not least, and I hope I don’t embarrass her, is one of my best friends.  I have watched her sacrifice everything she has for her son, friends, sisters, and parents without asking for anything in return.  One of my first female friends in Philadelphia, she became like a sister to me years later as roommates.  She has coached and held me through sickness, break-ups, and personal crises, and has never judged me for any of it.  She is a beacon of perseverance and the quintessence of resilience.  I have seen her bounce back from a fall more times than I can count, and she never lets it get her down for too long.  Because of her I am never afraid to be an individual, nor do I view mistakes as fatal.  She has taught me to laugh at myself and never take anyone too seriously.  She embodies the saying, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  Thank you, Cat, for always being willing to laugh at me, and for always being honest even if it might hurt my feelings.

This list is by no means complete, but these women are on my mind and in my heart as I look up at posters of Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie.  The women I have written about deserve a bit of recognition for the impact they have had on my world every bit as much as any woman in a history book.  Think about the women in  your own lives, my friends, and whether or not they know what a difference they have made.  Maybe it’s time they learned.

Go now, hug your matriarchs!

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