by Victoria Hawkins
We are here for such a time as this, and I am grateful to be a woman in this time. Today is International Women’s Day. This year is the first year that I have ever wanted to explore what that even means. This specific celebration of women has been around since March 8, 1975, however, as I looked into this significant day a little deeper, I found that the first recorded honoring of a “Women’s Day” was on February 28, 1909 in New York. The next year, the first official “International Women’s Day” was suggested by the International Woman’s Conference. Officially it was adopted by the United Nations as an international holiday in 1975. Since that time, it has been celebrated worldwide in commemoration of the movement for women’s rights. (Thanks for the info wikipedia!) This past year in my American culture there have been some amazing strides in the way of women speaking out, using their voices, finding courage that allowed them to rise above their fears. A few weeks ago I was talking with a 19 year old young woman and her 17 year old sister. As we chatted about the way women are shifting in our modern day society, the 19 year old made a comment that brought me much hope for our future as women.
She said something to this effect: “Because of what women like you and my mom have gone through in life, we (she and her sister) are being raised differently. We get to have a different experience.” This was profound, and I had great clarity in that conversation… We are here for such a time as this, and I am grateful to be a woman in this time.
Over the next few days I pondered the events of my life as a girl and then as a woman. What I realized is that there are a ton of stories there in my life thus far… and more to come I am sure! Some of these stories held great pain, and some held great joy, and actually some of them even held both at the same time. I sat a moment and thought about all that I have learned about hurt and letting go of it, fear and finding my courage, feeling empty and numb and remembering my joy and depth of emotion.
What stuck me is the magnitude of women who have touched my life over my 43 years; so so so many; all I could do is bow my head and spill tears of gratitude for their teachings. Many of them did not even know what they were offering me, some did not even know me personally, so how could they fathom the impact they have made?
I thought about famous women like Mother Theresa, who said; “We can do small things with great love”, and taught me that those that live from deep compassion make a difference beyond anything they personally could imagine. And someone like Maya Angelou who taught me about seeing and being the rainbows in this world, and forgiving myself for my past “mistakes” for “I did then what I knew to do, now that I know better, I can do better.”
Then I thought of my two grandmothers. My Granny taught me about quiet compassion and non-judgment, and gave me a love for hummingbirds and all people. My Grandmother taught me how to be strong and withstand great challenges in unknown territory. My mother was next, and I thought about her trust in the knowing that when we join together in prayer and meditation, we work with Divine Power and we watch life shift.
The flood continued and I choked up when I remembered two mentors, Barb and Hazmin who held space for me as I fell deep back into the throes of an eating disorder, and reminded me Who I Am until I could remember the True Me for myself. Another amazing mentor, Mary has shown me I am not locked into my past choices, and I can constantly choose anew to be what I am- Victorious. My yogi friend Liesa shows me the freedom of a Wild Woman who commits herself to Herself and her passions.
My first ballet instructor, Miss Sally, who gave me the gift of dance that has healed and sustained me through my life, and that gift continues to be the true love of my life. My bellydance instructor, Taliah who stands for the empowerment of women through dance and creative expression, and who does not put up with catty competition or judgment in our classes. My sister Kelly who chooses to raise 6 children, homeschooling them and guiding them as a mom. My sister Mckenzie who is so creative, artistic, talented; that it blows my mind as I see what she comes up with- whether in the kitchen or on the stage.
The list is endless, and I could spend the next few days honoring the women in my life who have supported me, challenged me, surprised me with their generosity, cried with me and held me while I cried, celebrated my accomplishments, and shown a light on my potential for what I did not know I could do, displayed bravery in the face of great fear, and simply chose to be themselves without apology.
For the past year, I have had this Bible verse in my head; it is verse 4:14 from the book of Esther in the Old Testament. I grew up in a Christian household that honored the Bible, and as a kid and teen I memorized countless verses and stories. My favorite story of all time was the story of Esther. She became an unlikely queen who was faced with a decision to risk her life to possibly save her people. Here is what her uncle said to her that I believe prompted her to stand in courage and speak:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come… And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
These words have been placed on my heart for a year at least, and today I see that on International Women’s Day I have a chance and the privilege to speak, and keep speaking in compassion, love, gratitude and appreciation. I have a chance to be me without apology, and be a beacon of light and love and freedom to show others the way when they do not remember yet. Today I choose to be the woman that I am, and honor the women that have come before me and will come beyond me.
Thank you to all women for your impact on this Earth and its people… you just never know who you are touching…you are made For Such a Time As This.
By Victorious Hawkins