By Ally Bolender
Assistant Web Content Manager
For Women’s History Month, I wanted to thank the women in my life for all that they taught me. I have had the pleasure of having positive women influences who have shown me what it means to be a woman and how powerful it is to pursue your ambitions– despite the societal limits placed upon us.
Being a woman is much more than just the sex that you are, but appreciating the obstacle, because it makes every success more valuable.
So, Mom, Grandma and Sister, thank you for teaching me the value of being a woman. Thank you for teaching me how important it is to not accept that as a “label.” We are more than our sex.
You held me through my first break-up, you encouraged me to dress the way I wanted to express myself, you taught me how to do eyeliner and what it means to be strong.
You showed me what a powerful woman looks like—a leading woman in a man’s industry.
You fed us, cleaned-up and woke up at the crack of dawn to pursue your own company. To be exposed to this as a kid, it allowed me to think that anything is possible. For that, I am so grateful.
You have consistently shown me that hard work pays off, no matter what BS stands in the way.
While traditionally, a woman with power is labeled “bossy,” “dramatic” or even “controlling,” you have shown me nothing but someone that knows what they want– and knows what they need to do to get there.
You have shown me what love, compassion, intelligence and drive looks like, but most importantly, you’ve shown me what can happen when someone puts their mind to something and focuses on the success rather than the challenges.
You’ve been a powerful influence in my life. I had never had to question my limits because of my gender, and that is because of you.
You showed me that there is no “place” for a woman because you did it all. You cooked and cleaned because you wanted to keep a clean house and well-fed children, but you are so much more than that. These responsibilities are not exclusive to women, but regardless, you took the responsibilities despite all the other things you were responsible for outside of the house.
As I’ve grown and learned, you’ve become my best friend, my biggest supporter (no matter what path I chose to take) and a woman I can turn to when everything hits the fan. I can’t imagine anyone else as my mom.
In the words of an Instagram hashtag, you are a #bossbitch.
You told me your stories of being a single mother while grandpa was away at war. You told me about how you drove him to drop him off to leave for Vietnam, shed your tears, and went back home to become the woman of the household.
To this day, you have shown me the value of having fun in your life and to never go any second with regret. You are a light in the life of everyone you meet.
I remember you telling me what qualities to look for in a good man who will support your ambitions. You make me laugh with your light-hearted stories of pulling pranks on your kids and appreciate those cheap dinner recipes when bills are tight.
You pursued what you wanted to be, despite the money, because you knew that finding satisfaction in helping other women feel that they are their best selves is important.
Grandma, you look good, girl. You do as you please and you do what you want. You don’t care what others say about you because you know that it is a waste to care about other petty opinions. I cannot thank you enough for showing me where true happiness comes from.
From teaching me the best martini recipes to slot machines to win big at, I know that you appreciate the enjoyment that can be found every day. I am grateful that you’ve shown me to value those everyday joys because, after all, our time is limited. So, make the most of what you have with no regrets.
I saw you grow into a woman who will not take no as an answer. From a young age, you would always tell it like it is. You never doubted anything you wanted to do because of your gender, and that makes me so proud.
You found your calling at an early age—caring for special needs children. A calling that faces challenges, but requires passion and unconditional love.
People told you “That’s hard, are you sure you want to do that?” or “But you will need to focus on your own children one day!” But you respond, always gracefully, “This is what I want to do,” and refuse to provide any additional explanations, because, frankly, it wasn’t necessary. You never assumed women needed more explanations to back-up what they want in life.
You dress in what makes you comfortable and you befriend the type of women who want to see you do great things. You have the mindset as a leader. At just 18, you were aspiring to open your own therapeutic learning facility for special needs kids– while most people are figuring out what college to go to.
Your determination to take every opportunity presented to you, apply for any scholarship and learn from any additional resource is astounding.
You know who you are and how valuable you are. You stand strong in your opinions and refuse to let any outside forces pull you from your truth. You are the perfect example of what makes up a modern woman, and that is something to truly cherish.
For Women’s History Month, tell the women in your life how important they are to you. After all, you may not understand the generational or societal implications placed upon them. You know how their leadership shaped you. So value that, learn from that and never take that for granted.
In the wise words of Beyoncé Knowles, “Who runs the world? Girls.”