Free Write

Slipping into my runners, I tie them firmly but not too tight. I step out of the apartment and fumble with the keys as I lock the door. I run down the six stairs to the foyer. After yanking the door open, I step out, dancing down those five steps.

I almost expected to hear a booming radio voice penetrating all the clamour around me — “That’s one small step for a woman ….” Okay. Okay. It was not of Neil Armstrong proportions, but a biggie just the same.

There are no trumpets or bagpipes. Nobody rushes at me, pulling me into a lovely hug that jostles my bones. Nope. The traffic didn’t come to a standstill. There was no double-take of any kind. This–after I leave my safe home for the first time in twenty-one years, with my arms and legs fully exposed, baring hundreds of scars to the cool breeze. Shorts and a tee-shirt never felt more free and easy.

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Our Quiet Leaders

When I think about women who are leaders, I cannot help but think of those who are famous and get lots of attention for their works. Since they do not need any focus, I like to remember the living and breathing women whom the public does not know, and may never, because they are every woman.

As a woman and a leader, I am the young tenant next door who hears your cries while your husband yells and pounds you in the wee hours of the morning. I quietly call the Police for help for you, begging them not to say I called. Of course, they did. Referring to my youth, he yells at me through the walls, “Report that, Peanut Butter!” Now I cower in bed at night with a knife under my pillow. At least, he is no longer hitting you.

As a woman and a leader, I am poor. I volunteer long hours at a local hospice. Unless a patient wants to talk, I do what needs to be done–open or close blinds, hold a shaky hand, or sit quietly nearby. I love it when I usher wheelchair bound patients downstairs to a live music event. Their worry lines ease over that hour.

As a woman and a leader, I write letters about injustice, share opinions, thoughts, and feelings. I know doing this is only a millisecond blip on the world’s computer screen. However, it helps keep my energy flowing and depression at bay.

As a woman and a leader, I grew up in a bigoted family. Yet I married my love, who just happened to be of a different race. My husband and sons are beautiful, and we will nurture each other forever. He and I teach our boys that racism and hate are ugly truths but that they do not have to define our lives.

As a woman and a leader, I teach reading to adults at the library. It is for everyone who wants to enrich their lives with the many adventures and worlds that lie within those book covers. We all love it and read vivid stories to each other.

As a woman and a leader, I love with ferocity. I hate and scream. I fight with words. I sit, watch, and listen. I am tender, sexual, and loving. I love my life and yours. I stand arm-in-arm with you from all continents around the globe. I bow and honour you. Your children are mine; my sons and daughters are yours. We are the unsung leaders of our evolving world.

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