In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like us to think about the women who have contributed to our collective success. We are endeavoring to stay motivated as we reach our dreams, but our ancestors were motivated to do as much as they could to ensure that we succeeded. We, in effect, were their dreams deferred.
The best way we can honor their sacrifice, determination and hard work is to live the dreams that they held for us, when they knew that future generations would enjoy a level of freedom and achievement that they could not experience. I find it ironic that women in the past were held back by sexism, racism and strict social codes of their time. Yet today, the barriers to our success lie largely within us – low self-esteem, negative self-talk, the internalization of negative messages, and self-doubt.
The sparkling, expansive future that they envisioned for future generations has turned into an existence filled with cubicles, reality TV and escapism. We’re trying to mentally escape from lives that we find unfulfilling, mundane and mediocre. We are our ancestors’ dreams deferred, yet we’re continuing to defer the dreams that we hold inside ourselves. That is not a proper way to honor their legacy at all. Think about the countless sacrifices that the women in your family have made in order for you to be here today. They didn’t do all that they did so we could be living mediocre lives that are designed by default. We owe them our greatness so that their legacy of sacrifice and the greatness they dreamed of for future generations can continue.
I remind myself that my maternal grandmother worked in a laundry and only received an 8th grade education. But she wanted her Booga Boo to go to college, to have a happy marriage, to have healthy children, and to live a life that she was not allowed to live in her lifetime. I’m conscious that I may have some of these things on paper, that I’m striving to achieve the ones I’ve yet to obtain, but that her overall vision for me was a life that is filled with happiness, love, fulfillment and possibility. I cannot let her down. You cannot let your ancestors down, either. We will not allow their sacrifices to be in vain.
You owe a debt of gratitude to every woman in your family who has bled, sweat, and died to make sure that you’re free today. How will you pay that debt and honor their sacrifices, their spirits and their dreams for the greatness that you could live?