Poetry from Nayyirah Waheed
Poetry from Nayyirah Waheed
A Lively and Multi-Cultured Military Career Woman from a Line of
Trailblazing Japanese Women
“The interesting thing is my father's mother is from the Meiji era and passed away when she 105. She was born in 1907. That was time when Japan was becoming a modern state. She was a career woman. She had six children. It was very special for that time. She was a teacher at an all girls high school. My aunts would tell me 'grandma is a career woman these days. She would come home for lunch and breastfeed your father and then went right back to class.' "
“I went to Japan to become more Japanese. I wanted to regain my identity."
“When I used to be a banker, the managerial track people were sent from New York to the branches. I was sent to the most conservative parts of the country...from New York to somewhere way conservative. I went there. We were there to pump out reports and interview but when I called to make an appointment, [she said] " 'Who is actually the person who will be coming?' Me! Even if I went somewhere as an analyst: 'Oh, are you single? When are you planning to marry?...[When you are about 24] You are still working? Aren't you supposed to be looking for a nice husband?' "
“I didn't tell myself, ‘No, Kyoko, don't go into the military because that's more of a man's thing or it's dangerous.’ " On her career in the military
“You’re 50 could be someone else’s 30 but who cares?… I think I should have been counting more of my blessings and enjoying what I was blessed with, and I regret it. It’s lost time.” Reflecting on her younger self
Woman with a Voice: Advocating in her Marriage, Workplace, and Community
“My family jokes I started talking when I was nine months old. That is I think probably the biggest gift that I have— that I can talk to anybody about anything. There are so many women who need to find their voice, have never found their voice, are still trying to find their voice and that is something for whatever reason has never been a challenge for me. Because I speak what is on my mind I think a lot of other doors were opened for me."
“She said it is everyone's responsibility to reach back[motioning] to the girl behind you and pull her up. I think that is a big part of who we are as women; you have to be able to reach back and pull forward. As I have been doing this campaign and meeting people- not just women-you realize how many people are waiting for you to reach back and help them. I am very proud to be on her team and to be having her as a mentor to me, win or lose." On her campaign partner
A Worldly Woman: Executive Director at the United Nations Association New York Chapter and Mother of Hungarian Roots
“I was the man of the family at age 15. I became so independent that it is hard to me to give up independence now."
“Since I was an only child, I did feel a heavy burden. It was not a burden but a thought: here is my mom, what is going to happen to her if she gets ill. What will I do? I am trying to live my own life. I can sense that feeling from my daughter now because of this traditional thing. She saw me taking care of my mother-in-law. I know she must have thought of this and what will happen to us when she is getting her career started and I am in my 70s or 80s. It is this thing in the back of your head, a cultural thing...." On Hungarian culture and caring for elderly parents
“He is(husband) is from Sierra Leone, Africa. I felt (whether it was a storybook thing) you fell in love and got married and lived happily after. This was an idea that was ingrained in my myself and I fell in love with this person and we decided get married. I didn't care what the world thought, what my mother thought, what his parents thought, what my friends thought. I was getting married and I was getting married for the right reason. I was not getting married because he was this fabulous caretaker--he didn't have a dime. I was getting married because we were madly in love. I felt at the time and I still do, that it is something that binds people together and I wanted that very much. I did want I wanted to do and I am glad I did. We have been married 33 years and it has been a wonderful journey."
“I wanted to be with my children, this little person I brought into the world at age thirty seven. It's a hell of a long time to wait to have a baby. So I thought, that's it...I could have gone back to work I suppose. It would have been an easier thing to do but I didn't want that. I had one of the best jobs. It was fabulous and my boss was wonderful. He also concurred and he said he understood because his wife was at home too." On leaving work temporarily when Ann had her first child
“Ask for what you want and not just be accepting of it[the way things are] meaning[your] title,[your] salary. I was privy to an incident in my former job where one of the guys who did not get his raise and was called into a conference room...he walked out and slammed the door. He got his raise because they didn't want to lose the guy. He was not going to take it and if I had done that, I think I would have been fired. Women could learn to say things in the right way- certainly not in an offensive way- but say they could say what they need to say and not worry about it so much, not go around thinking they will offend somebody and thinking about it for days before a job interview. Say what you need to say and I think you get a lot more respect that way." On advice to her younger self
*Note that the audio files are completely unedited and you will truly be receiving an authentic experience, with the occasional awkward interruptions of clanging restaurant plates, a next-door-neighbor’s construction work, and silence while we research the quote an interviewee wanted to add! These unedited charms are as organic as their stories. Some of these women are family friends, good friends of mine, professional acquaintances or strangers I met spontaneously in a baseball stadium. We met for interviews in family rooms in private homes, public libraries, gazebos, and restaurants or cafes. Edited written transcripts will be released at a later date.
Actress Extraordinaire, Spiritual Millennial, and Family Friend with a Great Big Heart
“When I make people laugh or I am doing a big, crazy scene I don't feel attractive. It feels good in my heart but I don't feel like Marilyn Monroe and when I try to be something sexy, I don't feel funny. It's trying to find me and the reality of myself.” Erica Wiederlight
“In the acting business, my friends have played parts 'the slut, hot neighbor, the whore' and these are legitimate shows, and their call is a whore...it is giving no one worth. They are saying you are so ugly so you will be this frumpy, weird thing or you are attractive so we will sexualize you and you have no mind...I am trying to take personal responsibility; here I am, right here and right now, here's Erica. I am not a this, a that, I am me." Erica Wiederlight
Unedited. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Happy International Women's Day!
I feel privileged to be a woman despite the many challenges that women face around the globe.
The plight of women is real but I am learning that every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Women face the challenges of sex trafficking, domestic violence, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, and limitations on reproductive rights, just to name a few. While there is still much room for improvement for many of the world's women, we must not forget that women and men have grown over time in the reach for gender equality. Sometimes in our noble ambition to look towards the future it is all too easy to disregard the past. We focus on how far we have to go(and we should) and stop appreciating the rights that we do have now that many women fought tirelessly to grant us.
Perhaps it is easy for me to say this because I am an American woman in the Millennial generation but that is precisely why I am saying what I am. I did not have to fight for my right to vote, I was never denied employment because I had children, or was told my only value and true identity was living in the shadow of a man.
I am speaking to the younger generations when I invite women to have gratitude and count our blessings. But perhaps the riskier choice is contentment and settling. The danger of focusing too much on what has been already won is abandoning the future victories that we have yet to win. American women today are still raped, abused, harassed, and discriminated against. Gratitude isn't enough; we need attitude. Women--and men for that matter-- need to get mad, offended, and saddened by the atrocities that women face, not just in this country, but around the world.
This is why gratitude must be matched with the force of fierce ambition and commitment. One woman is a force all of her own, and she can use that force to pay it forward and follow in the footsteps of her valiant sisters who came before her. I urge young women to find gratitude for the past and use their attitude to shape the future of the world's women.
Millennials, it's our turn to take the torch! My motto for Women's History Month 2016: gratitude and attitude!
By Danielle Craig.
All Rights Reserved.