March 8. International Women’s Day.
My social media feeds are full of inspirational and aspirational posts celebrating women. That’s nice.
It’s nice to have a “day” to celebrate the achievements – both big and small – of women. It’s nice to have an opportunity to celebrate women leaving their lasting fingerprints and legacy. There’s no question the contributions of women have been edited out of much of the narrative for generations and all those inspirational and aspirational social media posts help to put women back in the story.
But it’s been a rough few weeks in my little corner of the world. And at this exact moment in time, it feels like the fingerprints I’m personally leaving in the world are more messy finger paint prints than they are intentional and lasting marks. The truth is, I’m feeling completely discombobulated by life and most days I wonder if I’ve done anything right. Most days I ask myself (and anybody else who might listen) one question over and over again…”Anybody have a map?”
It’s my current mantra. It’s also the title of the opening song to the musical Dear Evan Hansen, where it gives us a peek at the inner dialogue of the two mothers in the story. Two mothers who are wrestling with the reality of not knowing the best way to parent struggling teenage sons. In so many ways that song voices my own inner dialogue as well…
“Does anybody have a map?
Anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this?
I don’t know if you can tell
But this is me just pretending to know
So where’s the map?
I need a clue
‘Cause the scary truth is
I’m flying blind
And I’m making this up as I go”
No doubt I am making this up as I go. And I’m not just talking about the part where I honestly don’t know the best way to parent my struggling teenage son. I’m making it all up – parenting both of my kids, being a good partner to my husband, figuring out what I want in life. I’m making it all up and I’m often messing it up.
In fact, aren’t we all making it up as we go? Didn’t all the generations of women to come before us make it up as they went? And no matter how clearly we try to map a trail for our daughters, isn’t it likely they’ll have to make it up as they go to?
It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be a profile offered up as inspiration or aspiration on some March 8th in the future. I’m good with that. But I hope the messy fingerprints I’m leaving, as I chart my own map through this world, can be a starting point for my daughter.
So on this International Women’s Day, I celebrate the messy and discombobulated women. I celebrate the women who acknowledge the truth that we’re all making it up as we go. I celebrate the real, raw, broken and beautiful women – those who came before me, those who walk alongside me, and those who will leave their own messy fingerprints long after I am gone.