International Mommas: The Women I Know

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While a surge of females are hashtagging themselves into the history books for A Day Without A Woman (#ADayWithoutAWoman) on International Women’s Day (#InternationalWomensDay) I celebrate those who stand strong in the shadows.

Everyday, I’m thankful for my momma and all of the strong, Appalachian women who came before her or stand beside her; the women who guided me and, together with my dad and grandfather, helped me become the man I am today.

I’ve never known the women of the wage gap, those who feel unequal or unheard, the bra burners, the disenfranchised, the devalued, the Middle Eastern and Third World voices who are never heard behind the veil; who can’t vote, drive, dance, or be a woman.

The only women I’ve known were stronger than most men, and they don’t or never would have put up with misogyny.

The women I know have a gentle spirit with hands that know how to hold on and love with all their heart, or smack and grab to make you mind.

The women I know? They know how to mend your cuts, tend your bruises, till the soil, lead the people and win their run for office, love their God, respect their family, shoot a pistol, ride a horse, instruct a classroom, mend a shirt, cook a mean pot of chicken and dumplings, and do most any job a man can do. … And they know it.

The women I know have always known it.

Knowing the women I know fills me with pride. It also makes me sad for women marching today; those who live lives so devalued, who feel so degraded either among themselves or their peers, that they believe it takes more than one voice to be heard and more than one body to be seen.

Trust me, if you see my momma coming at you with purpose, you don’t need a mob to tell the world we need strong women.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always known the women of the world are the glue that holds us all together.

Not only did my momma show me so, but The Bible does a fine job telling me, too. From my point of view, you could argue its finer points depending on your religion or lack thereof, but Proverbs says, “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

That’s where I stand and this is my honor, to my momma and the women like her—the real feminists—whom I choose to praise today and always, because it’s difficult to show the world how valuable you are by taking a day off.

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