I’m imperfect but I’ve been fortunate. In my life I’ve met women who have helped me become who I am. I want to talk about these amazing women. Each one of these women gave me a piece of my puzzle. They each gave me something I needed, something that helped me become the woman I am today.
“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow — if we let them and we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.” -Glinda the Good Witch (Wicked)
The Women Who Made Me Who I Am
I met Corey in college, she was a fellow student-athlete. For years we coexisted with mutual friends but never spoke. During my last few years of college we drifted together somehow. I lacked social skills, so I don’t know how I bagged a friend like her. She was charismatic, strong-willed, and energetic. I was amazed by her. I watched Corey believe passionately in things. I watched Corey stand up for things. I watched Corey fight for the things she believed in. Corey taught me to be strong-willed and to always stand up for what I believe in.
Nancy was my college advisor and professor. I was an absolute mess when I met Nancy; I had no direction for my future, my view of the world was narrow-minded, and I was filled with self-doubt. First, Nancy challenged me and helped me realize how smart I actually was. Second, Nancy gave me opportunities to travel and meet diverse people so I could broaden my sheltered mindset. Third, and most importantly, Nancy took a confused girl and turned her into a woman who loved herself; she taught me about self-acceptance. Nancy helped mold me into the kind, accepting, and confident woman I am today.
Daisy and I found each other while I was still in college. When I adopted Daisy I was living in a scholarship-paid dormitory that didn’t allow dogs. Upon her adoption, I moved into an apartment close to campus. Daisy taught me many valuable lessons. Initially, she taught me responsibility. My new residence meant that I had to pay bills for the first time; I was still a student-athlete, but I got a job so I could pay rent and afford dog food, I opened my own bank account, and essentially learned to be an adult. All because I wanted to keep Daisy in my life. Next, Daisy taught me how to give and receive unconditional love. Like most dogs, Daisy had a heightened understanding of unconditional love. I went through a lot of hardships during my first years with Daisy, but she got me through all of them. Daisy is part of everything that makes me who I am.
Paige was my coworker and neighbor for a short while. Paige was unlike anyone I had ever been close to; she had been in a Sorority, and had a lot of close female friends. I watched the way Paige treated other women, and I was amazed and confused by it. I had been an athlete my entire adult life, so everything was a competition to me. Paige showed me that women shouldn’t compete with each other. Paige taught me that women are supposed to support each other, in lieu of competition. Paige showed me that women should do nice things for other women, just because. Paige taught me how to be a good woman.
I met Chass because our husbands worked together. I was very intimidated the first time I met Chass; she was strikingly beautiful, physically strong, very well-educated, she had two gorgeous children, and a husband that obviously loved her. She was the closest thing to a Disney Princess that I had ever met. I watched Chass raise her children, and take awesome care of herself, while also being an amazing friend to me. Chass truly is a real life Wonder Woman. Before Chass I didn’t understand what it meant to be a wife. But by watching her, I learned. Being her friend was like taking a masterclass on how to be a strong woman. Chass taught me to how to be an independent woman, while also being an amazing wife and mother.
Before Charlie, the phrase “love at first sight” meant nothing to me. But, with Charlie, it was absolutely love at first sight. Charlie found me accidentally; I went to the store to buy something for Daisy (my other dog), and I caught a quick and unintentional glimpse of Charlie. She was an adoptable dog at a rescue shelter drive. Our eyes met, and I knew that we both needed each other. Charlie is my life-raft; she is the best emotional support companion I could ever ask for. Charlie makes me feel loved, needed, and important… Charlie loves me so much, it actually makes me love myself. Charlie keeps me alive.
My husband and Amber are coworkers. Several years ago, my husband arranged a “blind friend date” between Amber and I. Initially I wasn’t interested; I’m not sociable, I don’t like meeting new people, and my anxiety always makes me say awkward things. Reluctantly, I went on the “friend date” and I’m so glad that I did. Within 10 minutes of meeting Amber I knew: she was the one. Friendship is a funny thing, you coexist around other humans, then suddenly one day you pick a human and decide “this one will be my best friend”. Amber is truly remarkable. Amber is kind, accepting, understanding, and loving. Amber is my person. By being my friend, Amber teaches me that it’s okay for me to be me. Amber helps me realize that I’m enough. Amber teaches me that I deserve to live and love myself for who I am.
Each Woman Had A Puzzle Piece
Each of these women gave me a piece of myself, each taught me a valuable lesson. Corey taught me to be strong-willed and to always stand up for what I believe in. Nancy taught me about acceptance and to believe in myself. Daisy taught me how to take care of myself and how to give and receive unconditional love. Paige taught me how to be a good woman and how to treat other women. Chass taught me to be an independent woman while also being an amazing wife and mother. Charlie taught me how to stay alive and that I’m worthy of happiness. Amber taught me that I’m enough and that I deserve to live and love myself for who I am.
A Family Full of Strong Women
In this post, I’ve highlighted women that have come into my life. But, I don’t want to be negligent to the women that brought me into the world, and to the women that I call “family”. I’m fortunate to have a family full of strong women; on my side and my husband’s. My Mother, Nira Jo: who taught me about sacrifice. My Grandmother, Mary Jo: who taught me about hard work and service to others. My Grandmother, Margaret: who taught me about kindness. My Mother-in-Law, Della: who taught me how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My Grandmother-in-Law, Joyce: who taught me that I’m stronger than any obstacle. My Aunt-in-Law, Janet: who taught me about friendship within family.
Because I Knew You
Like I said, I’m imperfect but very fortunate. Some of these women are still in my life, others I haven’t seen in years. But so much of who I am is due to these women and the things they taught me. So, these women and their lessons will always be with me…
“It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime. So let me say before we part: So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a hand print on my heart. And now, whatever way our stories end I know you’ll have re-written mine by being my friend.” –Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked)
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife
*The quotes and some of the images for this post are from Wicked the Broadway Musical. Continue reading for my synopsis of Wicked…
Wicked is a parallel story to The Wizard of Oz. In The Wizard of Oz we see Dorothy triumph over the Wicked Witch of the West, however we only get to see one side of the story. We never get to see the side of the Wicked Witch. Before Dorothy landed in Oz there was a kind young woman named Elphaba. Elphaba was born with emerald-green skin; she was smart, misunderstood, insecure, kind to animals, and possessed extraordinary talent. During her first day at sorcery school she meets a beautiful woman named Glinda. Glinda was a bubbly blonde and was exceptionally popular and very loved by her peers. Elphaba and Glinda began as rivals; Glinda was loved, so consequently Elphaba was bullied. However, their rivalry quickly turned into an unlikely and profound friendship. But then, due to unfair societal misconceptions, the world decided to deem one good and the other wicked; one friend becomes Glinda the Good Witch while the other becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. But, all the while, they have been changed for good and molded by their friendship. Wicked shows us that there are two sides to every story, and that friendship can endure and change us for the good.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. Be sure to say “thank you” to the women who have helped make you.