March is National Women’s History Month so for the last few weeks I have been compiling books and movies celebrating women’s history and issues for different displays around the library. I was also going around asking my fellow library workers what women inspire them. I got a range of answers from tennis star Billie Jean King to artist Georgia O’Keefe, from author Ursula K. Le Guin to accused spy and exotic dancer Mata Hari. Each person I asked whipped off their answer before I could even really finish asking the question. I was then asked the dreaded question – “Who is your favorite inspiring woman”? I froze…I had been so busy asking everyone else, that I hadn’t even taken the time to think of who inspires me. That night I was quiet, introspective. I tossed and turned and then woke up with an AHA! First of all, I realized I didn’t have to pick just one inspiring woman. Secondly, there is no reason I need to choose a “famous or notorious woman”. So here they are, the women who inspire me, the women I am lucky enough to call friends, sisters, soul mates.
I am inspired by the woman who in the last year lost the love of her life and her mother, yet still managed to get up every day, find at least one thing to make her smile and was able to grow her business by leaps and bounds even through sadness. She possesses a courage and a ferocity like no other person I have ever met. She is a sister, an Earth mother, a daughter and a friend.
I am inspired by the female students at UMA who raise their children, go to school full-time, hold down multiple jobs and fight custody battles and health issues and love their children immeasurably. The women who would go to the ends of the Earth and back again for the love of their family. They inspire me because they can make $20.00 in groceries stretch a week to fill their children’s tummies while going without themselves.
I am inspired by the women who are stay-at home and working moms. I am inspired by those who have the world teetering on their pinkie and still are able to find the balance to be themselves.
I am inspired by “all the single ladies” who are tearing it up and changing the roles of what it means to be a woman. I am inspired by women with strong voices and the courage of their convictions. I am inspired by those women who have learned to “embrace the witch” and not feel guilty or wrong for having an opinion and a voice.
I am inspired by the women who are artisans in their trade; for continuing the folk traditions of the past. By the women who create beauty from everyday things. By the women like my mother and grandmother who create amazing food that nourishes bodies and feeds souls.
I am inspired by you, Maine women!
– Laura Betit