The Women


I am not sure why things that are so obvious simply elude me sometimes.  I just forget and then I am reminded and it's all brand new again.  In my personal journey as a feminist, I have spent significant time raging against the patriarchy.  I am passionate about equality and balancing the scales of power between men and women.  I will admit that my first instinct is to reject "traditional roles" and prepare for the inevitable debate about equality, the issue so clearly black and white in my mind.   


A few months ago we were in Mississippi visiting some great friends and an idea was hatched (there may or may not have been bourbon involved) that the wives would accompany the guys at their annual conference this year.  It was driving distance for both of us, hotels were already paid, so why not?  I am always up for some travel and girl time.  He has attended the conference for more than two decades, however this was the first time that I went with him.  I spent three days with remarkable folks, but the women that weekend were what really blew my mind.  

I watched a friend that has become chosen family and a sister to me foster and sustain important relationships for three exhausting days in the backstage workings of her husband's career.  It was totally awe inspiring.  I knew she had kept the proverbial balls in the air on the home front when he is away, but seeing what her active role was side by side with him was a cool thing to watch.  Their teamwork was a tangible thing and seamless.  I spent the weekend talking with other wives and connecting with them in deep down soul ways, with conversations flowing as freely as the bourbon.  On the drive home, it struck me that so much of the very fabric of...well...EVERYTHING...is made possible through the relationships of women.  Support and nurturing was offered so freely and only strengthened the other women there.  While the conference was certainly about the career of our husbands, it became more about facilitating relationships between good people, the way for our men made smoother from those.  Their talent and hard work is how it starts, but relationships are what sustain it. 

My husband and I were 38 when we both married for the first time.  We were fully formed people with our own established work lives so it was new territory for me to think about how to help build something additional for a career already established.  It was an energized beginning when my husband and I talked about all of it.  The teamwork was exciting and humbling and...wait for it...powerful.  It was absolutely an equal power exchange through a traditional role.  My women are helping me navigate that new territory.  I won't lie.  My head kind of exploded.


My life has truly been made vibrant by the relationships that I have with women.  The females in my tribe are forces with which to be reckoned.  They are fierce, loyal, loving, inspirational, and ambitious. 


There is a kinship, a safe place to lay my burdens down that is different than relationships with men.  Don't mistake me, I LOVE men.  My male love relationships and friendships are so highly valued, but they are just different than my girls.


I am sustained by my female relationships.  I am understood and accepted.  I am challenged.  I am celebrated.  I am able to be not just mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, but entrepreneur, creative soul, goddess divine or emotionally vulnerable, wide open and raw, unsure and insecure.  My time with them fills my soul.






Photo credit Christine Teague Hughes
Their lives fill me with wonder and pride.  They are so rich and diverse that they cannot possibly be colored in black and white.  They are far too nuanced.  They are fire and light, love and heart, courage and compassion.  I am humbled by their love and inspired by their very spirits.  How could they not be power players?  They have certainly made me a better woman. 

Photo credit Marni Rothschild
I will be working on looking harder at the gray areas moving forward.  You never know where you will find strength or teamwork... 

...or equity.


The coming weeks bring my favorite holiday here in the bluegrass, DERBY!  I am so ready for all of the festivities.  If you need some cocktail inspirations, visit the Jennifer Brian Events blog for some new summer slushie recipes!


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