A Thank You Letter

The Advocacy Project

To say that 2011 was a big year for me would be an understatement.   A lot of changes, achievements, heartbreaks and celebrations came and went this year and have resulted in a better me. With the year approaching its final days, and in anticipation of a new year which will hold new adventures, I can’t help but reflect on all of the wonderful and amazing women in my life. These women have inspired, supported, challenged and guided me through the 365 days of the year, and then some. I hope with this blog to recognize, share and pay tribute to the immense contribution that you all have made to me (you know who you are J ).

Photo courtesy of US Mission Geneva

Thank you for….

Inspiring - creatively and academically. I have been moved and motivated by so many influential and powerful women this year- from Dr. Vandana Shiva, to the women in my family, to the many gifted and qualified female professors and colleagues I’ve encountered as a nurse.

Giving - a voice and a means of expression. At Lipstick and Politics I have been blessed to be given the opportunity to express my voice and my thoughts in an effort to reach out to all of the mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and friends who deserve to be part of a greater conversation where their viewpoint is recognized. This opportunity has blossomed into many great new friendships and though I’ve said it before, I feel it’s worth repeating: I love when good people find each other.

Reminding- of my value, self-worth, and how wonderful it is to have reciprocal and unconditional love with or without a romantic partner.   Going through a break up earlier this year was hard, but with the help of my amazing friends and family I fully recognized the many faces of love and support one can have. Being single wasn’t nearly as hard with my girls beside me reminding me of how much I had to offer and in turn receive from life and my own path in it- just by being me.

Being an example- in a world where we are bombarded by stories of broken love and separations in the media, tabloids, and in our social circles, it means a lot to me when I see women (and men) treating each other right. True love is inspiring, and I just want to thank the couples who keep their romance, respect, and unity alive, because it gives hope and meaning to the search and patience of those who are still looking and/or fighting the good fight to keep their own love stories.

Showing- the power of a woman. Through loss and great struggles I have seen women rise above their situations and share messages of strength, optimism, and a vision for a brighter and more equitable future. One of my close friends recently went through a loss - it was a devastating and heartbreaking event which threatened to crush the dreams of a young family. But this woman dealt with her grief with strength and grace. She honored her sorrow and her loss without allowing these things to alter her hope, generosity, and incredible spirit. Loving a friend so deeply and seeing them go through pain is heartbreaking to say the least, and a sentiment I’m sure I share with all women who sincerely care for their girlfriends. However I was inspired by my friend, and how her ordeal strengthened her as well as our friendship, and how she now moves with renewed optimism towards her future.

Photo courtesy of Tetra Pak

When I think of loss and families, I can’t help thinking of the issues of “gendercide” and the changing ratio of men to women in this world, which a few of our blogs have touched on.   Despite persistent attempts at suppressing and oppressing the number of women in the world, I hear stories of girls who survive, thrive, and inspire. Girls in countries such as India continue to fight for their rights to education and the same freedom and power that their male counterparts enjoy. One thing that I have certainly learned from the women in my life this year is that facing loss and adversity is bittersweet. Bitter for obvious reasons, but sweet because it is in these moments when we learn and reveal our true strength and discover the precious relationships that hold us up in times of need.

Photo courtesy of MikeBaird

With all of the adversity, challenges and persistent second-class status that so many women all around the world continue to endure in their homes, workplaces and in the eyes of their leaders I hope that this humble tribute will encourage you to do the same. Recognition of each other’s value and commendation of the same will build our strength and help us break through the barriers that may hold us back. Unity and solidarity makes us stronger; when we stand fast together and hold each other up we will continue to assert ourselves as the unstoppable force towards world change that we truly are.