Success is a malleable word that comes alive with each person’s ambitions, desires or worldview. We admire women who prove themselves on the global stage. We admire women of courage, who break out of stereotypes and carve a path for others. We applaud women of strength, grit and compassion, who make a difference in everyday lives.
I found a version of success in every woman who shared her extraordinary story of personal growth. Some overcame financial difficulties to move forward in life, some navigated cultural/racial biases, some showed resilience-battling chronic health issues, while some found freedom in following their heart despite societal hinderances and made life work for them! They touched success in their own colorful ways!
~As a student during my undergraduate study in the 90s in India, I would see working women travelling in crowded 5PM buses, in a hurry to get home and don the wife/mother cloak. Often, if they found a seat on the bus, they would pull out a bag carrying fresh green beans/fresh peas and start splitting them with their fingers-in preparation to get dinner ready, right after they got home. The image told telling tales of a woman delicately juggling responsibilities, both at work and home. Powerful and poignant, that picture has remained with me till today.
~Another incident that affected me deeply, happened in my early college years. I was a freshman in college when I witnessed my college senior (a woman), fall victim to a brutal acid-attack. An abominable act of cowardice. Vicious revenge taken by her jarred male friend because she had rejected his advances. She survived the attack but was left with severe third-degree burns. Accounts of her physical pain while she was in the hospital were chilling, however, the emotional trauma this barbaric event had caused was way more agonizing. After years of intense medical treatments, a face re-construction surgery and phenomenal personal effort, she re-invented herself. Her pain had metamorphosed into heroic courage, fearlessness and faith.
~A friend of mine decided to remain single-so she could raise her siblings and educate them. She came to the US from India on merit-based scholarship, to further her education and provide for her large family. Her father had abandoned his paternal responsibilities; she was compelled to become the sole bread-winner. She believed that her ability to raise her siblings would be constrained if she were to marry and have her own kids. Her hard-work and talent brought professional success. She saved every penny to take care of her family-educating them and helping them settle down. Now, in her quiet moments, as she is approaching her mid-50s, she misses having a family of her own. Her sacrifice of not starting a family in the prime of her life- in order to fulfill family/financial obligations- fills my heart with deep respect.
~I have witnessed single mothers march on, wading through difficult waters, alone. As a yoga teacher, I am working with a beautiful young woman-battling brain tumor. Her maturity in handling everyday challenges is heartening. Her determination to fight this terrible illness and reclaim her future is inspiring. The grit women show in pursuing their dreams, fulfilling responsibilities and helping others despite all uncertainties, is humbling.
I can recount one story after another. For me, these stories highlight remarkable individual and collective success. EVERYDAY WOMEN are WARRIORS. No matter what their identity is, whether they are mothers, daughters, wives, sisters or anybody else-they are embodiments of love, compassion and care. They play their various roles gracefully. They are superwomen who transform to chefs, chauffeurs, event planners, care-givers, financial managers and much more!
I salute each woman today and everyday.
“A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful, she is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world.” ~Native American Saying
Author : Deepti Gupta
All of us have a story to tell. Turning ideas into words and life's experiences into stories is empowering and fulfilling.