You’re invited to attend a brunch in honour of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. Hear ‘her-story’ by women from all walks of life expressing triumphs, challenges & tribulations.
I don’t even know how the paper invite got into my hand but it did and I intended to go (refreshment will be served!? ‘Nuff said. I’m there!).
Used to facebook invites or evites (to which I always reply Y-E-S!) I wasn’t even sure what to do with a paper invite (do I have to put a postage stamp on it somewhere??). Even searching for the event online and via facebook resulted in 0 results (google – you’re cut.)
Seeing the contact telephone # on the invite, I was completely baffled as to what to do. Certainly I couldn’t be expected to actually call someone? Real life interaction? In this Facebook/Twitter day and age??? Bah! I’d rather just show up and hope for the best.
What is International Women’s Day? A global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Celebrated every March 8th since the first one began in Germany, 1911.
I’ve never celebrated International Women’s Day before (I don’t think) and each year I forget it even exists ( I hope this doesn’t make me less of a women…). Always interested in a celebration, especially one so directly pointed at me, I figured 2011 was the year to get into it (I’ll bring the vodka!…Oh. It’s not that kind of celebration??). A sober celebration? Well this could be a first for 2 things then!
The event was scheduled to start at 2:15PM. Arriving promptly at 2:15PM, I’m one of the first few to arrive (yes I was shocked too. I had assumed my travel time was going to be 20 minutes longer than it was and did a double take when I arrived at the destination 20 minutes earlier. Cheers to faulty planning!)
Once everyone had arrived and settled (and of course after I had filled my plate high with sandwiches, cookies and cakes, mmmm), the event host pulled the speakers from the various mingling tables and introduced us to them, each of whom had a unique story to tell.
The event host joked that “whatever gets said at this event stays at this event”. Implying that this was a safe space to share your stories with others.
Hoping the event host was not serious about the “whatever gets said at this event stays at this event” thingy, but not wanting to get on her bad side either, I’ll simply summarize the stories for the rest of you. So just for a moment, imagine:
- Being highly educated and skilled (think doctor, dentist, etc.) from a developing country and going through the struggle of emigrating to Canada and validating your stellar credentials (say hello to red tape and the bureaucratic process).
- Dealing with the bullying and ultimate suicide of your high school aged child and having to struggle with the tragic aftermath of trying to pick up the pieces.
- Being sent to a foreign country (Canada in this case) for an arranged marriage to an abusive and controlling man who cuts off all your ties to the outside word. Fighting to find help so you can leave him and then having to start all over with young children in hand and $0 in your pocket.
- Seeking out your heritage and birthright amidst lies and half truths.
- Losing your young son to a drunk driver, then having to watch your husband pass away only a few months later.
- Not having the means to pay for post secondary education but having the will to do the research, ask the right questions from the right people and to get what you want and to get it for free
Although some of stories above can easily bring tears to your eyes, the women were very clear to point out that they were and are still today – not victims. What happened to them was sad in some cases, frustrating in others, tragic in a few and life changing in all. Each struggle and every obstacle could have easily defeated them all but they did not go softly into that good night. They all remained positive and expressed to us that setting their goals, looking to the future and using their experience to help, educate and council others helped them immensely.
I was both impressed and inspired. Can you imagine going through any of the situations above and trying to think of a reason to get out of bed in the morning after dealing with such frustrating road blocks or epic loss ? Not only that but also having to take care of your other or remaining children along with a husband, while dealing with depression, etc? We may have no idea but to these strong, brave, courageous and inspiring ladies…
It was all in a women’s day.
Inspiring quotes from the day:
“It doesn’t matter the circumstances, you need to think for yourself and move ahead towards your goals.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“Know what you want in life and go after it.”
“Stop worrying about what other people think about you and live your life.”
“Money can come and go, health can come and go but who you are – your essence, is what makes you – you.”
“Think of your being as a candle and when you share your light with others it takes nothing from you but gives someone else so much. Share your light with others and it will all come back to you.”
“ You don’t have to succeed. You just have to try.”
Yes, I’ll be away next week on an ‘all inclusive’ type trip and may not have access to the internet whilst away or whilst sober. To avoid any unfortunate ‘group blog posts’ where everyone at the bar gets a chance to ‘help me write the post’ I’ll just warn you that I will be away next Sunday but back and well rested for a refreshing (and mostly sober) Monday, March 20 post.
Have a good one!