A Personal Homage To Two Exceptional Women For IWD

It’s International Women’s Day 2019; 100 years after the suffragette movement and we’re still not where we should be after being oppressed since the beginning of time, but we are slowly getting there and I want to use this incredibly meaningful holiday that is International Women’s Day to honour two important womxn in my life that I’ll be eternally grateful for and that make life worth living. I don’t know where I’d be if they didn’t teach me to raise my political voice, accept and appreciate my otherness, take nothing for granted, work hard, be good and forgive if necessary.

Why I’m using the term womxn instead of women can be read here!

Mama

Me pictured with my mother in 1998.

Me pictured with my mother in 1998.

My first role model and the womxn that I owe so much to and have always admired for mastering a lot of obstacles with such strength and poise (that I always asked myself where she gets it from) is my mother, my Mama. I feel like I’m not nearly as strong as she is, but if there’s anything I want to become it would be growing older to be like her. In the 21 years that I have been alive I only remember very few moments where I thought that she looked weak and defeated. She always encouraged me to speak up, not let people treat me badly and to work on myself and challenge myself. The way she raised me didn’t always make sense to me at the time being, but now in retrospective it all fell into place and shaped the parts of me that I’m most proud of. She taught me patience and forgiveness, she taught me and my sister that things are going to be more difficult for us, because we’re womxn and live in a white society that can be really scary when you don’t fit in with the standard.

My mum in 2018.

My mum in 2018.

She taught me to appreciate my biracial, curly hair when everyone at school made fun of it. She taught me that my skin color is a gift and while some people won’t accept my complexion, there’s nothing that I need to be ashamed of. She taught me that my facial features are beautiful, that my lips aren’t too big and my nose isn’t too wide, like children at my school said to me. She always tried to be a good role model and I learned a lot from her experiences as a womxn of color in Germany and how she managed to succeed despite the countless obstacles that she had to face.

Me and my mother in 2017.

Me and my mother in 2017.

My mother always tried to provide everything for me and my sister, but while she and my dad couldn’t afford limitless luxuries, I was blessed with a really good education, a multicultural upbringing in a loving household and a lot of encouragement. My mother never tried to force me into gender stereotypes, I was able to express myself in whatever way I wanted. She didn’t pressure me into doing anything I didn’t want to. I was athletic, not typically girly; it was fine. I had issues with my mental health; she helped me. She found out that I was dating womxn and never said anything about it, it just didn’t matter to her. She never questioned my judgement, but always gave me advice and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now and where I am now if I wasn’t for her.

Having a mother in the first place is a privilege. Having a good mother is even more of privilege. And having a mother that always supports your life decisions, partners, moves and changes is simply the best.

My girlfriend Luisa in 2018.

My girlfriend Luisa in 2018.

My partner

There are quite a few negative aspects like discrimination, hate crimes etc. that come with being gay, but you’ll be able to spend even more time with womxn than you already do and that is quite a blessing! In relationships you don’t have to put up with toxic masculinity, gender power struggles and the fear of getting pregnant. Most womxn are amazing and you’ll learn even more about yourself when you go out with them which can be either really insightful or scary. A few years ago I got to meet a really exceptional womxn that I want to dedicate this part of my public homage to.

I did not know what had hit me when I saw her waiting for me on our first date, but I felt like something really good was going to come out of meeting her; not that I planned to get into a relationship with her straight away, but meeting her enriched my life in more ways than I could have ever anticipated back then.

Me and Luisa in 2018.

Me and Luisa in 2018.

She gave me a gift that I will be forever grateful for, I owe to her multiple feminist awakenings, her intellect astounds me every day and most importantly she makes me laugh a lot. A quality that I really admire about her is that she’s never jealous or envious, she doesn’t compare herself with me, we’re not in a constant competition, but try to always support each other’s plans and choices. She’s really honest and upfront with me, if I’m being stupid or egoistic, she’ll let me know immediately. But she’s also really soft and calm and rarely angry with me. Luisa is patient with me when I don’t understand something and she always tries to make sure that I know how much I’m worth and that excessive self doubt is unnecessary and a waste of time.

I know that she loves me unconditionally and I’ve never felt safer with another person than I feel with her, I don’t take anything she does for granted and I try to always treat her as delicately as she deserves. After almost 2 years I feel even more inspired by her every day and there’s no one I find more beautiful than her.

We’re a good team, I know she always has my back and will defend me if necessary. She always holds me when I’m feeling anxious, insecure, sad or angry. She lets me rant about things that make me angry and knows to calm me down when I’m getting too worked up about something. Luisa is the first person I want to tell good news to and the first one that comes to my mind when I need to share something.

When I see her everything makes sense and I love being a minority if that means I’ll get to share my life with someone as magical as her. If I hid my sexuality from the world I would miss out on being with the most incredible womxn I know.

My claims for this International Women’s Day

For today I hope that ALL womxn can unite to celebrate and honour themselves. I want this IWD to be about ALL womxn, especially those whose voices don’t echo in mainstream feminism. Today is the perfect day to shine some light on those womxn that society wants to ignore the most. Let’s use today to honour and stand by trans womxn all over the world that don’t have the opportunity to even come out as womxn and celebrate today as openly as they’d want, but have to fear for their lives if they do. Let’s talk about all the sex workers, abuse victims, survivors, disabled womxn and womxn of color that deserve to be heard and listened to.

Today should be about remembering all the amazing womxn that came before us, whose invention were overlooked and whose successes weren’t celebrated but ridiculed, because of their gender.

IWD should give us a good chance to reevaluate the mainstream feminism that still does not include and cater to ALL womxn, but cis-gender and able-bodied white womxn and that should be thought about today.

Thanks for taking time out of your celebratory day to read this little homage to two amazing women in my life whose existences make this day even more special.

Don’t forget to make sure to hug, kiss and celebrate all womxn you love today!

Written by Michelle Pantke, who can be found as @badwolf95 on Instagram.