Appreciation For The Women In My Life

International Women’s Day just happened on March 8th and I believe this was a moment of reflection. Personally, I take this day to be grateful for all the women that fought relentlessly for me to have the opportunities that I have today. These women include political figures that led marches that have enabled women to attend college, allowed women to vote, allowed women to be heard. Apart from that, the women that have fought for me the most include my mother, my aunts, my sister, my cousins, my godmothers, my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers, etc. who battled within my family to allow me to become the woman I am today.

I know that the women around me are those that have my back, and when we rise, we rise together.​

If it weren’t for my mother, I would not have the ambitions I have today, I would definitely not have the outspoken personality I have today. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be pushing myself above my limits to become half the woman she is. My sister is someone who has always believed in me, being always told by my parents that she looked up to me, whether she really did or not, pushed me harder, going beyond what I believed were my limits. My aunts have all taught me love, sharing, and individuality. They each represent themselves in their own ways and empower the women around them, being their daughters, their friends, family and myself. My cousins are all younger, but they make me grow in my motherhood, I want them to see me as a role model, someone they strive to be like. They make me realize that life goes by so quickly and that I should be cherishing each moment rather than always thinking about the future. My grandmothers are figures that are so unique within themselves, they have created the most beautiful families that will carry on for eternity. My maternal grandmother has fostered love and shown that hard work is a way of life and not a burden, she has proven countless times that she does not need help (debatable) but that independent of her age, she will always be self-sufficient. My paternal grandmother was someone who couldn’t care less what others thought of her, she stuck to her authentic self and the value that had was unmeasurable. She emphasized the importance of staying true to your character and that life will play out according to that, and individuals should not change themselves based on what happens in life.

My godmothers are my aunts so there is a lot of overlap, but one of them is my mom’s best friend from college. I rarely see her, but she is someone that has embraced her own will to the maximum extent, she doesn’t care what society thinks about her family, she follows her passions and her gut. The fluidity that her life presents is fascinating, and nevertheless inspiring. Even without meeting my great-grandmothers, etc. there are things that are innate, and the most prominent feature being love. The amount of love that each of these women has for their children, their surroundings, anyone in their life worthy of that love, it is unconditional. A connection I can’t explain that I feel with my grandfather's mother is that we have the same birthday, 17th of May, and we’re both named Julia. This is purely coincidental, as my parents had already chosen my name before this was brought to their attention.

I can’t leave out the women that have shaped me in my daily life, my friends. I’m careful to surround myself with empowered women that empower others. I know that the women around me are those that have my back, and when we rise, we rise together. I credit my high school best friends, and I actually consider them my sisters, to finding my feminism and allowing me to believe in my worth. I wouldn’t be comfortable in a business school without that empowerment and belief that I can do it. I credit my college friends to continuously empowering me through leadership and allowing my voice to be heard and validated.

I only hope I have done and continue to do the something similar for each these same women. I’m continuously reminded of how blessed I am with the rights I have been granted. However, there is still so much to fight for, whether that pertains to my demographic or not, women have the duty to build each other up and rise together. I take International Women’s Day as a point of reflection but as well as a point of inspiration and a call to action.