Women have been proven to be a mystery through centuries by men- but continue to confuse, inspire, and create awe even in the women around them just as much as they do to their male counterparts.

Being a woman myself, I am constantly impressed and shocked at what we as the “gentler sex” do- and don’t do- as I view myself and my fellow female peers throughout the years.  If we can’t even manage to understand ourselves in fullness, which I highly doubt we ever truly will in this lifetime, it’s unthinkable that any man would be able to.

Yet we are continued to love, be loved, do amazing things, do really shitty things, experience life in different ways, act and react, and build sometimes even without knowing why we do, what we do, or how we do it. What incredible things we can be!

Today, on International Women’s Day, I had the joy (even during a bad reaction to cough syrup on an empty stomach and constantly calling Ralph on the big white phone) of taking part in a photoshoot with one of the most beautiful women I know both on the inside and out, my Mom. This week alone, I’ve heard from numerous people something along the lines of, “your mom is really amazing” or “I am so glad I get to work with Sheila”– so I know I don’t stand alone in my admiration of her. We got to work with some more wonderful women, Sara and Asha, from the Cambodian Children’s Fund for a new range of handbags at the quaint and delicious Mumoo’s where we were candidly captured interacting as mother and daughter with some lovely fair trade, Khmer crafted accessories- then gifted cookies from the staff on “our” special day! To have had this opportunity to face and sit with one of the women I most respect and admire on a day internationally celebrated (for so many good reasons!) was a treat and an honor.

It reminded me of all the other women in my life that use their skills, personalities, and gifts to do good and add to the world- each in their own way. From my beautiful best friend in San Francisco, continually learning and sharing her stories with me to my strong, determined little sister in Cheney working towards her degree even after obstacle after obstacle come before her, the talented women creating documentaries of lives across the globe to the ladies who use their eye for style to push women’s empowerment and the mothers, both new and seasoned, who dedicate their lives to their children even during the most difficult times, the business savvy gals who utilize their keen minds to grow those around them to the women willing to share their beautiful voices through song and music, design, writing, and all sorts of creative outlets: I am blessed beyond belief to bear witness to their achievements, troubles, and triumphs.

Although there are women who seem to utilize their time and energy towards bringing others down, there are dozens of others than come circling around that squash their intent. We all have our downfalls, our weaknesses, our Achilles heel but with our faults come humility, enlightenment, and hopefully growth. For the women who still act like girls- I hope you one day feel what it is like to be a positive force in the lives around you, for your own sake if no one else.

I applaud you strong women, stretching from every corner of the planet, doing so many different things and each in your own way. I am proud to see the change that occurs, even if slowly, with every rally, essay, moment of speaking up, act of beauty, and stand for solidarity in societies that constantly try to put each of us in a labeled box in a man’s world.

I write on International Women’s Day, the end of it in Cambodia and at the beginning in the States, with all women in mind: those that I have yet to meet, may never meet, have had the sincere pleasure of meeting, have had the extreme displeasure of encountering, and all those who are so very close to me whether in proximity or spirit. Do what you do well, with positive intent, eyes open, a willingness to grow, and be proud of who you are and have confidence in what you are capable of. In short, woman: you are amazing- now go be amazing.

Photo courtesy of Film Noir Studios: Rachel and Me
Photo courtesy of Film Noir Studios: Rachel and Me

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