As International Women’s Day is approaching I’ve trying to think of a female role model. Someone empowered who inspired me and I couldn’t think of a single one — because dozens were coming to mind. Real and fictitious, famous and unknown, these are the women who challenge, inspire, and move me daily.
Cinderella. Not because she was swept away by a handsome prince, but because, despite loss, ingratitude, and unkindness she found good and was kind to others. And ultimately, she was seen for who she was. She moves me.
My clients. Those who have gone through their journeys, full of peaks and valleys, and shared them with me. Each one of us has a story. She moves me.
My mother. She came to this country when she was in her 20s, didn’t speak the language, and was homesick for years. As a single mom she put herself through school, worked two jobs, and still got her master’s degree and ran her own business. She moves me.
Kay. Originally, Kay came from a very privileged family in Japan. She overcame severe illness in her youth, and then the ravages of World War II. She was a war bride after World War II in Okinawa. Then she came to live in the US without family, not speaking the language, and eventually having to start over without her husband. Kay passed away a few years ago but she always told me,“You have to do it. You have to remain positive.” I think this is in part why she was able to live on her own, until she was 96. She moves me.
Later in Life Moms. Several of my girlfriends did not give up on their dream of having kids even later in life. They went through years of fertility treatments and were all eventually blessed with their children. They move me.
Amelia Earhart. For stepping out of the box others tried to keep her in. I’m inspired by the wings she grew. She moves me.
Coco Chanel. For daring to be different. She moves me.
Madonna. For the way she keeps reinventing herself and her music. She moves me.
Honest Strangers. Specifically, the woman I met on a plane to Virginia. She told me about her life of struggle through abuse and addiction into a transformation of faith and a career placing former convicted criminals into jobs. She moves me.
Selfless Clients. In particular, my client who lost her home in the Santa Rosa fire but still stops to ask me about my family. She moves me.
Katie. She had a car accident and was told she would never walk again. Not only does she walk again, but she’s now a fitness and life coach, helping others through their struggles. She moves me.
Cancer Survivors. My friends who have survived cancer and feel their lives are better than ever. They move me.
Wonder Woman. Who would not love her bravery and her outfit?! Her desire to see the good in people and the way she defends the people and ideas she values are the things that draw me to her. She moves me.
And there are so many more. I admire the women who have met obstacles and challenges in their lives bravely, and emerged with grace dignity, empathy, wisdom and a sense of humor.
As Anis Nin says, “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
It is through my journey of meeting others that I have met myself along the road. We have the opportunity of seeing ourselves reflected in each woman we meet and that creates a special bond in our femininity. Because in every woman I meet, I see a bit of myself in her. She moves me.