The following is a repost from International Women’s Day, 2019, modified for 2020.
Today’s blog post is a very special and heartfelt message in praise of women around the world. Mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, colleague or stranger. I want you to know that I love you immeasurably, not just on this day, but every day that I live and breathe. Life, in fact, would not be possible, if not for you.
It’s highly likely that I will be called in for a “Man Card” Revocation hearing after this post but hey, I don’t care. Today is spent in complete devotion to all of you. You… powerful, talented, intelligent and beautiful women around the world, as we celebrate National Women’s Month and International Women’s Day. I especially love this year’s theme: “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”
For those of you guys that haven’t stopped reading at this point (and shame on any of you neanderthals, if you did), I want you to listen intently…
Women around the world continue their eternity-long pursuit of gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women’s achievements, according to the International Women’s Day website (yeah, it’s worth researching and reading, brethren). Here is the link to activities going on around the globe (shout out to the 2020 JBCH Youth Dialogue panel discussion being held in Kampala, Uganda). If you all don’t know by now, that’s my favorite country overseas and second favorite city in the world! But no matter where you are, know that this day should not be lost on us. This month. This lifetime.
That being said, let’s get to it.
Women world-round are undervalued, overwhelmed, under-compensated, overworked, underappreciated, overtaxed, underestimated, overlooked, undermined and over IT.
Since I’ve already touched on the theme (which I believe to be self-explanatory) let me deliver my own personal message: Speaking In Praise Of Woman. I value you. I love you…
Woman, I SYMPATHIZE for you.
You suffer through the monthly pain of recycling your body when the seed of life has not been received. When the miracle does occur, you carry us for 9 grueling months, being the only source of nourishment and protection as we sprout limbs that kick and elbow you as we fight for room and take shape inside of you, in preparation for the day you bring us into this world.
Woman, I try, but I cannot EMPATHIZE with you.
I just don’t know how. On this wondrous day that we enter this world, you endure the most indescribable, life-endangering torment. Many men don’t even know that in order for you to accomplish the miracle of childbirth, your pelvic bones actually loosen and temporarily separate in order for the passage to take place. It has even been stated that if a man were to actually have a child, the pain from the experience would kill him. You are truly the stronger of us.
Woman, you are GOD in my infant eyes.
If a man denies his part in the creation of life, you are often abandoned, either upon notification, during those 9 months or shortly after. He heartlessly forsakes ownership and his duty. But you? Not you. You never abandon us. You selflessly take on the mighty challenge of raising us on your own, struggling to maintain work while finding coverage in your daily absence, taking over when you return after a long day’s work. You feed us, change us, teach us to speak and walk. You never leave us because your love for us is a most blessed and unconditional love.
From the moment of conception, you are my shelter and my warmth. You are my world.
If the man who has helped create us remains to complete the family, you love him and try to satisfy him emotionally and physically, despite the demands put on your weary frame. You tell your man that you do indeed care for him and acknowledge his needs, even though your services are required elsewhere.
Woman, I LIKE you.
You befriend and defend me in grade school, when others harass and bully and ridicule me. You stand taller than me because your body and level of maturity has progressed faster than mine and that of my ignorant male peers. You spare me the humiliation of rejection by taking my sweaty, shaking hands when I summon the courage to ask you to dance in the school gymnasium (that embarrassing tale can be found here). You resist the urge to laugh along with others as I read the love poem I wrote for you in the Poetry Club, when everyone knows it’s about you. You sit with me in the cafeteria, laughing with me as my meal becomes more and more delicious with you in my view. You kneel beside me and help me as I struggle to my feet after an embarrassing defeat while defending your honor (another tale, coming soon); taking on the kid who’s been left back two years and towers a whole 8 inches above me. You also fight off the temptation of whooping his ass, adding insult to injury, because unbeknownst to all, you are a purple belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Woman, I ADMIRE you.
You stand in the face of disrespect and being looked over for a well-deserved promotion as you deliver your awe-inspiring presentation to a boardroom of arrogant alpha males who would sooner eye-ball and objectify you than listen. Contending with their water cooler whisperings that you shouldn’t be taken seriously because “it’s probably that time of the month”. You bite your tongue as they shower their cat-calling and lustful thoughts upon you when you’re working by their side in the factory, or doing equal or better work while receiving less pay. Or while you walk down the street. Or when you’re shopping for the family you cook for. Or when you’re in the gym, trying to obtain the hourglass figure we expect you to maintain for years while we eat our pizzas and wipe the grease on our worn and belly-stretched football t-shirts. And since we’re talking about cooking…
Woman, I am NOTHING without you.
You spend the day either taking care of the children or working your own job as an equal home partner or single mother, trying to earn a living. Then you come home to quickly prepare a healthy dinner that is often unappreciated because you made chicken, broccoli and rice when they want Salisbury steak, garlic mashed potatoes and fiesta corn.
For the record, I would never do that to you. I appreciate everything you make and compliment you accordingly, if I’m not already cooking dinner FOR you. Lord knows you need a vacation.
And while you’re dealing with the whistling and requests for your phone number at the grocery store, you’re out picking the right meat for the barbecue. You come home, vacuum, dust, mop and clear the deck. Then you cut the meat, clean it, season it, prepare the side dishes and drinks and set the table. You bring the meat to us so we can simply toss and flip it on the grill. That’s pretty much all we do. And after your hard holiday afternoon’s work, you humbly suffer in silence as we get credit from family and friends for being the “bomb grillmaster” who made the slammin’ ribs/chicken/brats/burgers.
Woman, I DEPEND on you.
As I lay on my back, shaking with the fever that has crippled me, you tend to my needs. You feed me, rub the medicine on my chest and body, tuck me in, clean me and clean up AFTER me. All the while, maintaining your other duties. But when you are sick, that same care and treatment is never reciprocated…
…again, while maintaining your other duties.
I can’t find my socks. I don’t remember birthdays. And whether or not I admit it, without the smartphone, I don’t always know the directions as we travel. Perhaps if Moses had listened to a woman’s suggestion, they might not have wandered the desert for 40 years, looking for the promised land. Shhhhh. Don’t tell nobody.
[If you are able to read beyond this point, that means I didn’t get struck by lightning for blasphemy. Cross your fingers and pray for me.]
Woman, I stand here in AWE of and REVERE you.
You report to our schools and defend our position. You confront anyone in the street who threatens us. You will fight to the death with anyone, everyone. Never once displaying fear or doubt. You sacrifice your own safety to protect us. Lioness, your cub adores you.
Woman, I REPAY you.
For the countless hours you sat by me in the kitchen, teaching me to write my cursive letters so they don’t look like doctor prescriptions. For the times you battled a headache as I made ungodly sounds on my clarinet while learning how to play it. For the school plays you attended, deprived of rest and sleep, but standing and clapping louder than everyone else. For the bloody nose you cleaned. For the clothes you washed and mended. For the tears you collected as I wept miserably after my first heartbreak. For the care packages you so lovingly prepared and shipped to me as I studied without you by my side in college.
I repay you, my girlfriend, lover, wife, as I prepared my presentation for my interview, having you there to listen to me rehearse. For your support when I doubted myself and felt that no one in the world gave a damn about whether I lived or died. You held my head in your lap, caressed my scalp, kissed all over my face and told me I mattered. You told me you loved me. You SHOWED me you loved me. You told me you were proud to call me your man and even prouder to call yourself my woman.
I repay you with my undying effort, which translated to OUR success, not my own. I repay you with gratitude, devotion, attention and acknowledgment. Because behind this great man, was and is an even greater woman. Correction, BESIDE this great man…
Woman, I UPLIFT you.
I encourage you as you function in the working world or seek higher education in pursuit of your own dreams. I pack up our furniture and relocate with you when you find greater employment, having grown within your organization or found something better. I cheer you on as you bring home your good news, never once feeling or displaying jealousy at any of your achievements. Letting my only words be, “I am proud of you. You are my hero.”
But after all of the wear and tear on your young or aging body, Woman, I still DESIRE you.
Your touch is tender. Your skin is soft. Your natural scent is intoxicating, as is the caress of your beautiful, full lips as they glide along mine. Your breasts, hips, buttocks, legs and yes, your not-so-slim waist and stretch-marked stomach are perfect in design. I don’t need you to augment what God already blessed you with. I don’t need you hidden under layers of makeup. You are a sight in which my eyes get lost as I focus on yours. The length of your hair means nothing to me (read that again), whether cascading down your delicious back to the crack of your behind (no matter the shape), or shoulder-length, short, faded or non-existent. Yeah, clean shaven. Bring me that bald head so I can tickle it and write “I Still Desire You” with my tongue (in cursive, because mommy taught me). India Arie said, “I Am Not My Hair”, and you’re not, baby. I just want to hold you, please you, feel you, because I need you. God fashioned you amazingly and I receive you, just as you are.
So let me welcome you home. No, don’t do a thing. Just hug me as I secure your waist, pull you in and kiss you madly because I live my day to see you at the end of it. Let me run a bath for you, slowly undress you and lovingly carry you in to soak as I prepare dinner and ask you about YOUR day. Let me prepare the table and serve you. Let me creepily, but gratefully stare at you, taking in your magnificence as your cutely curved lips form to chew everything that I’ve lovingly created for you.
Let me dry you and dress you in relaxing clothes, then carry you to the couch and rub your feet as we listen to Luther Vandross tunes/choons in a candle-lit room. Then let me make love to you, as you want, need and deserve to be loved. Let me hold you, if you’ve had a rough day and just need my comforting arms. Let me listen to you, because woman, I care for you and what you have to say. Then let me tenderly kiss you to sleep as pink & black butterflies fly, dance and rejoice in the starlit sky that is your brilliant mind. Let me softly sing “Just When I Needed You” by Roberta Flack as you smile sweetly in response as sleep.
…and I love the way you snore, baby.
Let me teach our daughter to aspire to be like you.
Let me teach our son to respect and worship you for the queen you are.
No, you don’t need to proclaim your regality because we already know. It’s just that many of us forget to treat you as such. Let me worship you like my mother, stand guard over you like my sister and cherish you like my daughter.
Let me not call you anything outside of your name. EVER. In anger or in jest. Let me never sexually assault or abuse your body or poison your mind with ego- and esteem-shattering insults. Let me not forget what you bring to the table, but celebrate it. Let me not dismiss your thoughts and opinions as being “fueled by emotion”. Let me not ignore or devalue you as a human being and equal party. Let me never deceive you, shame you or ever strike you out of anger or for my own pleasure. Let me die first.
Let me support you, as you have me.
Let me do right by you, as you have forgiven my transgressions and accepted my shortcomings.
Let me uplift you, as your place is glory.
Let me protect your heart and your body, for you are my most beautiful and valuable prize.
Let me listen to you, for your words are empowering.
Let me follow your guidance, for your thoughts are wise.
Let me sway to your song, for your voice is a melody.
Let me acknowledge you, for your presence is power.
Let me compensate you, for you are equal in your efforts, intelligence and skill.
Let me respect you, for you are worthy.
Let me treasure you and thank my God for you, for you are His gift to me; custom-designed to complete me.
Woman, I appreciate you.
Woman, I see you.
No matter where you are, near or far. This world would and could not be, if not for you.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Happy YOUR day. All around the world. Today, tomorrow and forevermore…
Woman, I value you.
…and woman, I damn sure LOVE you.
Oh yeah. I shined your crown for you.
No, don’t bow down. I’ll reach up to put it on you….
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