My sister-in-law, Deneen, was working in her bedroom in preparation for her new bed to be delivered. I stopped by to see how things were going and decided to help.
We wrapped the old mattress in plastic (per the city’s requirements for pick-up) and started to tackle the frame made of wood and slats covered with fabric. I suggested we take it apart instead of lugging it out in one piece. Deneen loved the suggestion and said, “that’s a great idea; teamwork, two heads are better than one!”
We removed the fabric, then started using the hammer to take the slats apart and Deneen asked me to, "go in the other room and get the wedge thing.” I knew exactly what she was talking about, located the tool and said, “here’s the crow bar. Why do you think it’s called a crow bar?” To which she answered, “I think it’s called a pry bar!” We laughed and went back to work.
As we worked, I couldn’t help but think of my brother and how he would have been tackling this project. I know my brother well, we think alike in many things (my sister-in-law refers to me as “Michael without a penis!).
As Deneen pounded the slats apart and the frame started to come apart, she yelled in a victorious voice, “see… we don’t need a man!” And we kept going until the frame was completely apart and easy to carry out of the house.
My brother Michael, her husband, was in a motorcycle accident a year and a half ago which left him with severe traumatic brain injury and he has been in a rehabilitation center since the accident.
My sister-in-law has learned just how capable she is without her husband, not out of choice but out of necessity. More than once she has had to unleash her inner warrior not only to be my brother’s advocate, but to make sure she doesn’t lose herself in the process.
As we tore up the old carpeting and I was using the pry bar to pry up the strips of wood bordering the room I said, “you’d think someone would invent an easier way to tack carpeting to the floor.” To which Deneen replied, “yea, if a woman were in charge of that, it would probably be held in place with Velcro!”
As we laughed and kept working, I started thinking how men and women work differently. We will use a high heel for a hammer, call a tool a “thingy” and worry about someone showing up at the front door when the house is a mess! The beautiful thing about the difference between men and women is the fact that there is no right or wrong way to complete a project.
As women, we owe it to ourselves to stop saying things like, “we can make it in a man’s world” because it isn’t a man’s world. It’s a world where we all live together. It’s not about gender, and every woman would be more empowered if she would give herself permission to stop trying to prove she's every bit as capable as a man while trying to discover exactly what she’s capable of.
As women begin to identify with their inner warrior and realize that she is able to unleash her at will, we will have more women linking arms with like-minded women who finally understand that there is no such thing as competition and that collaboration will take us farther into the future as women of power and strength. This is the legacy that future generations of women deserve to grow into.
We owe it to ourselves to stop waiting for death, sickness, divorce, injury or loss to finally understand what we’re capable of. We owe it to ourselves to unleash our inner warrior and encourage other women and girls to do the same. As we unleash our inner warrior, we empower our sisters around the globe to stand up and shout, “she was in there this whole time. My inner warrior was just waiting for me to release her, so I could live up to my full potential!”
Since the time I first had an awareness of you, I knew I wanted you to love me!
From that moment on I begged you, as though I were waiting for a handout, to see my worth, my value and my willingness to do whatever it takes to be worthy of your love.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life and every single time I made a wrong decision, a poor choice or simply had no idea what I was doing; I knew you saw me as a failure and it hurt so much!
How can I explain how much your love means to me? To have someone who sees me for who I truly am, flaws and all, is the best feeling in the world!
I ask you, how could I find value in myself when my own mother couldn’t stand the sight of me? We had so many terrible arguments and confrontations; finally, I got to a point where I just had to stop letting her into my life and I felt so horrible about making that choice. What kind of daughter won’t even talk to her own mother? I have to admit that I really doubted your love when I made that decision.
When I got pregnant the first time and my daughter was born, I had no clue about parenting or being a good mom. I was so scared; because it was important to me to do a good job and be a good mom I really needed your assurance and you always found a way to reassure me I was doing a good job.
Remember that time I quit my job? That was a rough time; my boss was out of control and blaming everyone in the office for her mistakes and I always seemed to be in her line of fire. I came home every night, crying, about how much I hated working there. You always helped me find a way to have the courage to go back the next day and face it all over again. Finally, I decided to quit and I had so many doubts about myself. I know that every time you looked at me you thought I was a quitter. I just couldn’t figure out how to stick it out any longer even though we really counted on that income every week. If I had only known it would all work out so well and lead to a new career that I love so much, it might have been easier for me to be calmer and given you a reason to love me during that transition.
What about the time when I had to face divorce; twice. That was such a low period in my life and I really couldn’t find much to be proud of during that time in my life. Two divorces seemed so wrong. You told me not to jump into a second marriage so soon but I wouldn’t listen. I doubted my ability to live life on my own and being married was what I had known for most of my life. When that second marriage ended, I was so afraid to admit it to you because I really felt the judgement coming from you about the decisions I was making in my life.
Everything I have ever done is because I wanted your love and approval and you have no idea how hard it was for me to admit that I had failed not only once, but twice at being married.
Now that all of those choices are behind me, I marvel that you’ve been able to look past the choices I’ve made and continue to love me!
Finally, no more begging...
Finally, I'm able to look in the mirror and say, “Thank you for finally loving me!”