IWD 2021 – #ChooseToChallenge

I woke up this morning to two snoring (yes, snoring, and not purring) cats and this song on my mind

I can’t explain it nor can I place my finger on one particular thing that changed my mood. Call it women’s vibes, and maybe there is something in the air about March 8 each year, as millions of women celebrate International Women’s Day. This year there is much cause to celebrate, in spite of everything we have been through in the past 12 months, 14 for some.

If you got through 2020 relatively intact albeit the bumps and bruises along the way, you have every reason to be proud of yourself – and you certainly don’t have to be a woman to celebrate that! You will be reading from other sources about the history and accomplishments of women around the globe who fought and continue to fight for women’s rights. Gender discrimination will always be a part of our lives, and the sooner we accept this, the faster we can work together towards a paradigm shift.

If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to take a look at an earlier blog of mine here about strong women which I think fits the theme for today #ChooseToChallenge. Today I celebrate the women in my life, beginning with my daughter.

FrogDiva Strength ©FrogDiva Photography

The past 14 months have been anything but easy for us, our lives having been turned upside down and inside out by the pandemic. She struggled with her own set of demons, and I with mine. We were grateful to have each other, and the sacrifices we made and endured have made stronger women out of us both.

We choose to challenge the obstacles, structures, people, norms that stand in the way and stunt our growth. 
We chose to overcome rather than succumb. 
We chose to fly instead of remaining tied. 
We chose to cleanse over being cleaned out. 
We stand proud, 
and unafraid. 

I also celebrate my soul sisters around the globe, who are strong, beautiful women and as the lovely Barbara puts it, co-warriors. So to Shakuntala, Maria, Barbara, Beth, Terry, Annette, Stella, Beata, Lucille, Sylvia and Bettina – I raise my glass today and for the rest of my life to celebrate you, our lives, the moments shared, and every teardrop and and laughter that forged the eternal bond.

I celebrate the women in my family (the Castillos, Valbuenas, Herzogs, De Guzmans) who shaped the values, beliefs and perspectives of my foundation, and are the source of my strength. You are my prayer and my safety net, and without you there would be no Tekbong anymore. Whether it is the generations of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents that went through WWII, or the generation that, like me, migrated to distant shores and struggled to find their ground, I honour your courage, determination, and resilience. We may not be a typical family that gathered around the ancestral table every Sunday, and life took as all down distant paths before we could find each other again. It is is thanks to you that I understand the words of Dr. Maya Angelou even better:

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

from Still I Rise

I leave you now with another video that was passed on to me yesterday. It has been buzzing in my ear the whole time and I just needed to share it today. #ChooseToChallenge and be brave.

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