“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. To know me is to know that I always have a story. I see life in snapshots and each picture brings to my mind a testimony of sorts.
During this month of celebration, we often put emphasis on the most influential women that have made an impact on the American culture. I always enjoy learning and leaning into the “Herstory” of our fore sisters and how far they came, and I long to be just as powerful to the next generation of women, sharing some small bits of my story. I’m hopeful that I can serve as an inspiration to young women coming up and through the ranks of corporate America, entrepreneurship, or the day-by-day experiences of just being a woman in the male-dominated world of business. Given my life, I thought about a few things and how might I share a perspective that they may not have considered for themselves.
It’s interesting that researchers have discovered that if trees grow up in an environment where they don’t have to withstand any wind pressure, their roots don’t develop properly and eventually can’t withstand their own weight. They have a deficiency called “stress wood,” which is essentially the strength trees gain as a benefit to experiencing the certain velocities of wind. Stress wood helps the tree grow stronger and more solidly. Without it, the trees can’t survive. The wind is essential for the tree to flourish and become what it was created to be.
As I think about my journey as an African American woman, I’m inclined to focus on my blessings and the glass always being half full. Yet, it’s the “stress wood” that has emboldened me to go on and keep fighting. Standing in the midst of adversity is a necessity. Rarely do I walk into a room, and people not pause for just a moment. It’s not my overwhelming beauty or my superior intelligence that has them speechless, it’s that for the moment, more often than not, the idea that a black woman can speak her truth, own it, and be vulnerable enough to talk about the stress winds, I understand that what they might see as my deficiency beat out the odds. Living in the unique intersection of being African American and Woman, I face their doubts in my ability daily; people being dismissive, questioning why I am where I am, how I got here, and how I manage to be successful in a space where men run the operations. At this point in my life, I smile and am so very thankful that the stress winds made me stronger…better than ever before as Elton John would say—I’m still standing after all this time. To my amazing sisters—Black, White, Latina, Asian, Trans, whoever, I celebrate you and applaud you because you’re still standing!
Happy International Womens Day my sisters!