If you’re lucky, you get a few people who help guide you through the ups and downs of your life. Those people can be parents, teachers, friends, counselors, coaches, friends, mentors, family members or any combination thereof. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people—mostly women—who’ve been major influences in my life. I’ve been thinking about the women who truly SAW me when I needed it the most—when I was going through difficult times in my life, making big transitions, struggling with the big questions.
March is Women’s History Month so it’s tempting to focus on the cultural icons who’ve made a positive impact on the lives of all women. But I want to talk about the women who have been “boots on the ground.” The unsung heroines of our lives.
As for me, I’ve been very lucky to have so many incredible guides to support me in my journey. There was my 7th grade English teacher (whose name I cannot recall) who was so incredibly kind to me when I was struggling with crippling anxiety at school. My riding coach and friend, Jamie, who demanded I be brave and not give into my fear while riding my young and spirited mare, Lovey. My high school biology teacher—Sister Jean—who I regularly ate lunch with, talking about everything from the anatomy of a frog to social justice issues. Our family friend, Melanie, who always saw me without judgment. She gave me the space I needed to navigate my life as I finished high school and started out on my young adult life.
These women probably have no idea how important they are to me. They literally changed my life. Because of them, I had support on my journey, the space to discover myself, and the encouragement to go for the things in life that truly light me up – no small thing! When I can’t sleep, I often find myself thinking about the essential roles they played in my life and every time this happens, I tell myself I’m going to send each of them a thank you note.
And then I wake up and tend to the 476 things that need to be done right this second and another chance passes.
Now here’s the thing…you, my dear reader, are very likely this person to someone in your life. Someone, somewhere is grateful to you and you probably have no idea how incredibly important you’ve been in their journey. Consider this your reminder to never, ever underestimate how your openness to another human being can change the course of that person’s life. Sharing yourself and simply being present, can soothe another person’s soul. It may even heal them, allowing them to see the beauty and perfection of who they are.
So this is a tribute to those women who have changed our lives. As I write this, I’m getting my thank you cards lined up to send…and I hope you are inspired to do the same.