Last night was the induction ceremony for the Howard County Women's Commission Hall of Fame. As uncharacteristic as it may seem, in light of my general dislike of public functions, I not only committed to going--I actually went. I had that little talk with myself in the mirror about walking the walk, and I went.
I went to support my friend Nina, who is the chair of the Commission, and I went to honor Courtney Watson, one of the five inductees. And I went to show my support for these Uncommon Women who have pushed boundaries and challenged the status quo and made things happen in Howard County. Oh, how I wish that they were all bloggers!
It was heartening to see the County Council room packed for an event about women. Every day I read about so many ways, big and small, that women are abused, ignored, harassed, and underestimated. For one night in Howard County, it was all about women. From the students whose essays clearly said, "I am ready," to young women like Nina Basu who spoke of challenges and triumphs, to Courtney Watson who took her moment in the spotlight to say, "I am not finished," to other honorees who were looking back on amazing careers.
In a culture that honors youth and beauty in women, anyone who doesn't fit the mold can find themselves marginalized. Seeing the continuum last night from teen to young woman to young mother to middle-age to retiree, even great grandmother, was inspiring to me. In this room it was not about being thin or pretty, or whether one had married well. It was about who you really are, and what you are doing for others.
How can we, as women, be a strong community for each other? How do we use our voices to support the voiceless? How can Howard County be a place where strong, intelligent, gifted, and giving women want to live and work and make their homes?
The fact that I am waking up today with these questions on my mind is a testament to the County Commission for Women and to the example of the five inductees last night. I thought I was going to honor them. The takeaway is this nagging feeling that my story is somehow interwoven with their story, and that I have a reponsibility to pursue that connection.