Last year, to celebrate International Women’s Day, I asked a few questions I was confused about (…still am pretty confused about, to be honest). This year I thought I would do the same – and I had a working list of some funny, some serious, some sad issues I had questions about.

But this week has been a heavy one. This year, as a whole, is just so different than years past. I could go on a rant about the state of women, I could go on and on about the sexism – big and small – that is part of our everyday. Women are forced to live in a world that doesn’t value our lives equally, doesn’t educate us at the same rates, and doesn’t pay us the same for the same work. And those are statistical facts, not opinions. I could write about that. I could.

But Free by Gungor has been stuck in my head on and off the last few weeks – thanks in large part to the ever talented Kith and Kin who I’m spoiled to see pretty often on stage at my church. And I keep thinking about letting the light in.

I could write about the gender pay gap … or I could tell you about the many, many amazing women I have in my life who send me snail mail. I could tell you about the ones who text me at 5am with both exciting news and sad. The one who bring me chocolate, just because. Who will text me prayers when I need them most. Who buy me cute socks because cute socks are cute. I could tell you about the ones who send me emojis and gifs – and, at the same time, life – on a consistent basis.

I could write about rape culture …or I could tell you about the strong, confident women who are also self conscious, anxious women. Because they’re humans, and are okay with you knowing that. The bold and outspoken and quiet and thoughtful, the opinionated and silent, the everything-in-between women who don’t fit into any boxes. The forever stylish, old and hip or young and wise women who I am so grateful choose to be real with me. Choose to be real with themselves.

I could write about the low percentages of women in STEM or higher management …or I could tell you about the two wonderful women I’ve been lucky enough to live with the past few months. The women who laugh with me in the kitchen and cry with me while watching Hulu and eat lots and lots of ice cream with me. The women who see the realest sides of me – flailing around into walls and flailing around in life – and let me be me. The women who ask real questions and pick out nice flowers and know the little parts of my day and value food as highly as I do.

I could write about feminism …or I could tell you about the women I go wine tasting with. The women I do book club with. The women I see on Sunday mornings, with their kids and husbands in tow. The women I survived college with. The women I got to watch grow up in Flood Youth. The women surrounding me, at various times. The woman who raised me.

I could write so much about what’s wrong with this world, about what we need to do to fix it. Because there’s so much of both of those. But right now I want to let the light in. Right now I want to do what I can to keep it shining. Right now I want to realize how lucky I am. Right now I want to be grateful for these women who shape me and mold me and inspire me and grow me.

Here’s to the strong women.

May we know them,

may we be them,

may we raise them.

Happy International Women’s Day! One day, we’ll all be free.

Shoutout to Kith and Kin for being all around wonderful. If they are this good recorded on an iPhone JUST IMAGINE how good they are on stage…

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