Next Thursday, March 8, is International Women’s’ Day.
So what does that mean to you? How is it different from any other day?
How are you different than you were a year ago?
Let’s see. For me, I was living alone in the house that I had shared with my son and husband for 20 years, getting ready to figure out how best to pack it up and sell it and get on with my life—thinking strategically about what would be best for me, and where and how I wanted to go wherever it was I was going.
I was feeling optimistic, and when I look back at the journal I was keeping, I can see that I filled my days with as much as I could do to keep busy. It kept away the anger, the angst, the frustration and the fear. But it was more than that–it was a reconnection with my friends on a new and positive level.
The Academy Awards were coming up and I had made a plan to see all the Best Picture nominations (which I did, and again this year as well). I even got good at making spur-of-the-moment decisions to get out; I remember when my friend Susan called and invited me to a midnight movie I didn’t stop to think—I just went.
I also visited the dermatologist and had a thyroid biopsy, which I’ll talk about some other time (neither was pleasant, let’s just say that).
And I didn’t even think about International Women’s’ Day.
Over the course of the year, as I wrote—more occasionally once I got past those first few months, I reflected on some issues that are very personal—too personal at this point to write. I’ll just say they were connected to the #metoo movement–one specific incident involving unwanted touching by a person in a position of trust that wasn’t so terribly painful for me (at least I don’t think it was…)but that had and still has the potential to crush others…which is why I probably tucked it into the back of my mind, and why I won’t talk about it yet
I shared it with Judith (even my best friend didn’t know), and then a couple of other friends. And every single one of them had their own #metoo story—every single one.
It was then I began to realize the magnitude of the situation: that we had all kept silent all of these years, mostly because we thought we were alone, that there must have been something we had done, and that people would see us differently if we spoke up.
And then you think, well, at least you’re allowed to go to school, you’re not forced to get married at 12 to an adult man, you have food and a clean safe place to rest, you can work pretty much where you want, you can run for office and you can be the boss…
…and there are a lot of women in the world who will never have the chance to have any of that. They’re #metoo people too.
They’re who we should be thinking about on International Women’s Day. Those women who live in places where they never feel safe, or valued, or that they have the capacity to do great things. And we should also think of and support those women around us and beyond who have been profoundly affected and have yet to find their #metoo voices.
Today, I’m a year older and a lot has happened in my life. I have a new job, a new home, a new sense of myself; I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with a wonderful circle of friends, to make new ones, and to see new places.
And that includes a very special group of women who get together at this time of year and stage a performance of The Vagina Monologues, a piece written by Eve Ensler in the mid 90’s.
I got to wondering what it’s like to be part of a group of women talking about being women…and so I asked them. And I present to you this week—TADA!—my very first → podcast * ** (Good Lord, it took me longer to figure out the program than it did to have a child). I hope you like it.
*I’m sorry, I think the volume is low, and I want to boost it, but I am afraid I will break it. I shall try to fix this; in the meantime, you may have to turn your volume up a bit to hear these wonderful women…..↓
** Note: The title of this piece? I’m hoping it will stick for when I post podcasts. For the record, these women were NOT drinking before their play, and I don’t intend for anyone who chats to be heavily liquored up (this is not audio version of Drunk History, which, if you haven’t seen, you should check out); rather it’s to suggest that we are in comfortable conversation. So I hope the title works (although I’m already beginning to think it may not).