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!”