There are no limits on the number of fabulous women in the world. In doing the research on my book, I am coming across so many women I wish I could focus more completely on but who don’t fit the parameters in my subject area . . . women who have gone through, traumatic, tragic experiences have become great and are doing great things as a result.
It has three parts. A tragic event occurs. The person overcomes it or moves through it. And because of the event (s), achieves greatness and helps others in the process. The thing I am experiencing is there are so many fabulous women in this world, doing remarkable things to help others. Many are enabled by their status in the world to help whether they be celebrities who can attach their name to bring focus on a situation, or are from privileged or “normal” families and have not experienced the trauma of the magnitude I am looking for. To those, I have much admiration and gratitude for their services.
But I am finding these women who have been subjected to tragedies that would flatten most of us and went ahead to achieve brilliance. Normal people faced with extraordinary experiences. Women who have started out with hard lives faced more trauma, and gave their lives to making a better world for women or humankind. I am humbled.
I look at these women and think of my own life, wishing I could have that extra something to do the things I always wanted to accomplish and never had the where with all or courage to reach out and work toward attainment. But I am one of the millions who strive to do their best through their days, having ups and downs but walking onward. Having little accomplishments that build upon each other.
Reading and writing about these women energizes me, fuels me. Each time I find a new one I am like a parched and weary traveler who has found an oasis. I drink of their accomplishments, of the terrors they have faced, of their energy and ability to sustain where others can only marvel.
Not to take away from men, but women desperately need leaders of their own sex to spur them onward, give them hope. There are still too few true female leaders out there for us to latch on. They have to be world-renowned. They can be becoming. They can be carving out that nitch that needs exposing. We can have History books devoted to what Women have achieved – about how History has been changed or impacted by the actions of Women. Or, dare I say it, History books that equally represent the actions of women and men.
Take, for instance, Shirley Johnson in Tallahassee, Florida. She began being raped when she was eight years old. At ten she became pregnant. At seventeen, she was the mother of six, married in name only. By the time she was 27, she had 9 children with two husbands. The first husband was the church deacon who was one of those raping her, whom she was forced to marry at age eleven. She had to drop out of school when baby number six came along. She was shamed and ridiculed within her church, the pastor of which was one of her rapists. Her mother publicly accused her of lying about her attackers.
At age 56, she has found her voice. She is fighting hard to make Florida become the first state in the Union to pass a law outlawing marriage, for any reason, before the age of eighteen. She is a caregiver, something she knows well how to do. Nothing of privilege, she is only now receiving support in her endeavors from organizations for bringing the bill forward through the legislature. To me, she is great.
It doesn’t take much to make a stand in this world. You need only have a voice and be willing to use it. You can be a ripple in the pond, sending other ripples outward. Or be the butterfly’s wings in the Sahara that creates a hurricane in the Americas. You can be like Mairead Maguire, who stepped out of her house to join a protest passing by and became a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work bringing peace first to Ireland and then to other countries.
It only takes a step . . . .