Today, as I dressed in this “power suit” for a day of meetings, I was reminded that it is International Women’s Day.
I find it charmingly ironic that is also my father’s 76th birthday.
Not exactly the biggest advocate of feminism, this man who would be the first man I was to meet on this journey here on earth, was a larger-than-life personality, often described as taking up all the space in a room, always full of ideas…and my first symbol of what power was.
And, I was born into this world, stamped by a likeness to my father…and I despised it.
His power and self-assuredness at all costs scared me.
I looked like him.
I talked a lot like him.
I had a flair for dramatic delivery like him.
I was a lover of music like him.
I was strong like him.
I was a people person like him.
I liked being the center of attention like him.
And it all frightened me.
Our longtime family friends will remember how tears would stream down my face, and my bottom lip would pout out in protest, when people would tell me at age 3 that I looked just like my father.
Because there was nothing worse to me than that.
I was scared of him.
I was scared to be like him.
And, while many argued that I got the best parts of him, not a morsel of it did I want.
Recalling my protesting pout now, I realize that it wasn’t just because of a fear of my father, but more so…a fear of myself.
No, I wanted to be like my mother – unassumingly beautiful, soft, smart, ladylike, shy, and demure.
And, alas, I was none of these things.
I am most definitely not demure.
I am strong,
I am brave,
I’m a survivor,
I’m an inspirer,
I’m a creator.
No. That’s not my lot in this life.
That’s best left for someone else to be – a girl, perhaps, who has yet to learn her purpose, or a woman who recognizes – and embraces – that demureness is HER strength…her power.
Now, I see that perhaps my mom has gained some of my strength.
While I never learned her knack for knowing when to speak, or how to be shy and demure, perhaps something even more pivotal happened. Perhaps with my birth, my mom learned how to stand in her own power.
And, I have come to stand proudly in my inherited personal power, strength, dynamism and “too-muchness”.
I now thank both God – and, my dad – for these traits, and I thank years of experiences for giving me the realization that these are indeed gifts, and not the curses I always deemed them to be.
And, after 38 years of being scared of my own power, I now can wear a power suit, and feel right at home.
Here’s to all women worldwide not only standing in their power, but embracing it…and maybe even stepping into a power suit every now and then.