Sunday, April 27, 2008

Phenomenol Woman

I know a lot of them. My mom, my sisters, my daughter, Kim, Jeanne, Judy, Carolyn, Sarah, Susan, my nieces, my daughter-in-law ... I could list them all day. It took me a long time to realize how important my girlfriends were ... it started with Kim. She was someone I knew I needed to hang on to for the rest of my life. And she opened a window that allowed me to see how important all the women in my life were ... and how important they all would be from that time forward.

The women in my life have given me the strength to survive. They have given me life ... 2 of them, not including Gloria, and Rosa, and all of the nurses and doctors who watched over me and sustained that life. When I am down, the women in my life lift me up. We are a special sorority, us girls. ALL of us girls. Individually we are small, but together, we are mighty.

Which is why I find it so sad that women seem to, by nature, feel the need to destroy each other. Why is it necessary for us to constantly be in competition? Why can we not understand there are issues that we might not agree on, but that we should support the efforts? Why do so many women find it so easy to tear down strong women by commenting on everything from their hairstyles to their perceived bitchiness? A man who is powerful is considered accomplished, yet a woman is considered overbearing. While I do not support Hillary Clinton personally, I am in constant admiration of her will, her perseverence. And should she win the nomination I will proudly cast my vote for her. Likewise, I am in direct opposition to everything that Condoleeza Rice stands for, but I applaud her drive and her ability to break that glass ceiling. Katie Couric has been nothing short of vilified since stepping out of a more 'traditional' role as Today show host into a 'real' job ... and I have yet to hear one good reason why. Martha Stewart has been called some of the worst names imaginable ... yet still she stands. Phenomenol women. I am certain you can all think of ordinary women in your own lives who fit the bill as well.

My mom raised 3 very strong, independent women and I will be eternally thankful for her guidance. She taught us to treat each other fairly, to not get mixed up in the 'girls will be girls' games. To embrace that which makes our sisters and our girlfriends unique, special, powerful. I am going to try my best to be more outspoken and stick up for my sisters, and to hopefully raise my daughter to embody that spirit as well. I used to lament that I really didn't belong to anything ... I wasn't any special ethnic group, I grew up in a very benign religion ... but now I realize that I am a part of one of the greatest groups ever ... I am a woman. And belonging to that group bears great responsibility.

So here is an ode to all those Phenomenol Women.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


Judyn said...

You are so wonderful and Im so glad I am able to call you friend.

Jeanne said...

what a fantastic entry!You are the strongest woman I know.