08 March 2011

International Woman's Day: Inspirations

Today is International Woman's Day! It's a holiday celebrated worldwide to honor women and the contributions they make to society. As far as I can tell, it's largely unheard of in the US. I had never heard of it until it was mentioned in my second-year Russian class in college. But I like the idea.

I readily admit to not being so good with women. On the whole, I am much more comfortable relating to and interacting with men. I'm guessing this is because I only have brothers, and my mom only had brothers. What's a girl to do?

But today I wanted to mention some women who I think are doing (or did do) an amazing job at their lives and who inspire me. (This list is in no way comprehensive. These are just the ladies who popped into my head when I decided to write this post.)

Dorothy Breininger
Dorothy is one of the producers and organizers on the TV show Hoarders. While all of the organizers and psychologist who work with the hoarders on the show are awesome (Matt Paxton is another of my favorites), Dorothy is the awesomest. Every time I watch her work with someone, I'm inspired to be a better person. She is unfailingly kind and empathetic. While the audience looks into these people's lives and sees filth and insanity, Dorothy looks in and sees despair and shame. Whatever disgust she may feel at having to shovel human feces out of a bathroom is covered by her compassion for the person who is so broken that they've come to a place in their life where putting their feces on the bathroom floor is okay, and further that they're so desperate to change that they are allowing a stranger to see it. She always thinks of the person she's there to help and never of herself.

My sister-in-law Dotty
Dotty is always kind to me (even when I'm a provocative jerk). She is a peacemaker. She helps people see the middle ground and love each other more. She is working on a challenging and time-consuming college degree while also taking care of her ailing mother, a task she was thrown into without any warning and without any training. And she still finds time to come visit me and Lucy. Go read her blog, so when she's a famous author you can say you knew her when.

Auntie Leila Lawler
Auntie Leila (as we readers are to call her) writes the bulk of the posts over at Like Mother, Like Daughter. She raised 8 (I think?) children -- well, almost, her youngest is in high school -- and she has some of the most practical child-rearing and housekeeping advice I've ever heard. She's quite straightforward without ever sounding mean. After 8 kids, there's no room in her life for extremism or dogma -- she's balanced but firm. Her blog will tell you how to plan a menu, clean your kitchen, clean your house, clean yourself when there's no time for that, organize your laundry, etc, etc. Go check her out.

Abigail, from the Bible
Oh, Abigail. I like her a lot. Her story is in I Samuel 25. The short version of the story is that she's married to this jerk, Nabal, who insults David when he's on the run from Saul, even though David was respectful to and protective of Nabal and his property. David gets really mad and shows up with his guys ready to murder Nabal and everyone associated with him. Abigail then breaks pretty much every conventional, pseudo-Christian rule about what "good wives" are supposed to do: she runs out to meet David with a whole bunch of food without telling Nabal, tells David not to bother because her husband is a fool, and pretty much prophesies to David, telling him that what he's planning to do is wrong. Whoa. Then later when she tells Nabal what happens, he keels over dead. Oh, and then she marries David. I want to be that kind of woman. (Not the kind that marries David, but... yeah.)

Honorable mentions (i.e., I'm tired of typing so they don't get their own write-ups): Helen Keller, the mom in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, all the protagonist women in Hairspray, and of course, what I aspire to, the archetype described in Proverbs 31.

OK, now I want to hear about yours. Who are your favorite women who are awesome?

1 comment:

Dorathea Maynard said...

Auntie Leila actually provided me some long distance training by way of her blog.