International Women’s Day is not just a day. It's more than that. It’s a day that celebrates all of the rest. Everything that came before it. All the love and determination, and triumphs and set-backs, the physical strength of our bodies and our minds, the ferocity of our spirits. All of this, by women the world over, in the face of adversity and despite all the odds. It’s a celebration of not just who we are, but how far we have come.
It’s a day to salute those iconic women, who paved the way with their placards and chains, their infinite courage and their notable wisdom. I can’t imagine where we’d all be now without them.
But you don’t have to look in the history books to find yourself some inspirational women. Look around you. They’re everywhere. I look at my friends all the time and think, “Good God, they are amazing.” So today I salute them too.
My friends who have given everything to get where they are, supporting themselves through college and university and beyond, devouring books and seizing opportunities and pushing, pushing, pushing themselves to be better, to do more. You smashed down the wall that was put up against you and used it to build yourself stage.
My friends who are mothers, who have carried life inside their own bellies. The ones working tirelessly to feed them, clothe them, teach them, love them - especially the ones who are figuring it all out on their own. You are so much stronger than you know.
My friends who have had their bodies stolen from them, by someone who tried to break them in two. Through time, you’ve claimed your body back and made it yours again.
My friends who are there in a crisis, with the right words, the right wisdom and their resounding strength.
My friends whose lives are dictated by illness or medicine, who sometimes don’t recognise their own bodies in the mirror. The ones who have been haunted by a cloud so dark, they can’t see beyond the next minute. Look at you now – you have waded through the mist and come out the other side.
This day is about celebrating strong women everywhere, in the past and in the present. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Happy Women’s Day, sisters.