Happy International Women’s Day!

Although I have a couple other posts on the go for this blog that I have yet to post (my apologies – they will be up soon, I promise!) I wanted to take the time today to recognize some pretty badass Canadian women.

I have always considered myself a feminist, despite the negative connotations the word has among certain factions of the Internet. For that reason, today is particularly important to me. There are so many women in my life – and women who I don’t know personally, but who I wholeheartedly respect all the same – who may not recognize how accomplished and appreciated they are.

These are women who grapple with internal and external forces every day and still manage to come out stronger, in both their personal and professional lives. These are mothers, daughters, sisters, bosses, rockstars, athletes, doctors and hard-working professionals from all walks of life that don’t get nearly enough recognition for the battles they fight every day. Whether these battles are won or lost, these women continually rise up to fight another day.

CBC Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

These are women like the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, who, despite facing an enormous amount of pressure from powerful and formidable men who seem to tower over her in every sense of the word, continues to stand her ground and fight for what she believes is right. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Women like Sandra Oh, whose achievements at the Golden Globes this year made history and seemed to speak directly to Canadian women of colour from all walks of life. Women who achieve these milestones gracefully and humbly, not because that is how a woman should behave, but because they recognize that your respect is your testimony.

Global Times Photoby EPA/MIKE NELSON

On a more personal level, today I recognize women like my mother. Women like my friends and family members, who, instead of giving into the societal pressure that constantly pits us against each other, continue to build each other up and celebrate other women’s accomplishments as if they were our own.

Women who kick ass at work and then come home and give every last inch of themselves to their family and kids without complaint, no matter what kind of day they had. Women who are talked down to by their male employers and coworkers, but continue to stand tall and work hard.

Women who were born into the wrong body and were/are forced to look in the mirror every day, hating what they see. Women who still have to fight every day just to be recognized for who they are. Women who are belittled, rejected by society and told constantly that who they are is wrong, but still get out of bed every morning and fight.

Drunk women in bar bathrooms, who never fail to treat every person they meet like their best friend and will always be there to lend you a hair elastic or remind you that you deserve better, girl. Women who will pretend to be your best friend or lesbian lover when some sleazy guy won’t leave you alone, even if you’re complete strangers. Women who will walk to your car with you, lend you their cell phone or call you a taxi.

Women who struggle with mental illness but refuse to let it define them. Women who struggle with long-term, physical illness. Chronic illnesses. Hidden illnesses. Physical disabilities. Mental disabilities. Women who go through life knowing that no one could possibly understand what they are experiencing, but continue going through life nonetheless.

Women who have lost family members and loved ones but keep their memories alive every day. Women who stare death and loss in the face, but keep pushing on. Women who know that, sometimes, there is strength in showing weakness.

Women in college or university, who know that they are struggling now so they can prosper later. Women who have never attended college or university, but have made a successful and happy life for themselves and their families. Women with regrets. Women without regrets.

Old women – women who get up in the morning feeling like a shadow of who they once were, but are proud to admit that they are still learning new things about life every day. Young women who have so much ahead of them, but feel like they will never get there. You will get there.

Women who respect themselves – whatever that means to them. Women who respect themselves wearing a hijab. Women who respect themselves wearing a niqab or a burqa. Women who respect themselves wearing no makeup, a messy bun and a pair of sweats. Women who respect themselves wearing lingerie, booty shorts or a crop-top. Women who respect themselves wearing no top at all. Women who respect themselves and other women, whether they are sex workers or nuns. Women who are still learning what it means to respect themselves, and who know that’s perfectly okay too.

Women who speak multiple languages and are skilled enough to knock down language barriers every day – even when that skill goes unrecognized.

Influential women, who use their position to make a positive difference in the world. Ordinary women, who work hard every day to better themselves in the hopes of finding themselves in those influential positions someday. Rich women. Poor women. Religious women. Secular women. Queer women. Straight women. Women of colour. Indigenous women. Trans women. Cis women.

I’ll stop rambling now, mostly because the word “women” is starting to look weird from typing it so many times. In any case, you get the picture. I am a strong woman because I was raised by strong women, and I recognize how privileged that makes me. It is my goal to help foster a world full of strong women for my kids, and their kids after that.

Today, I take my hat off to women. All women. I am speaking directly to you, and I want you to know that I see you. I respect you. I recognize you, and even if we do not know each other, I am rooting for you every day.