Monday, March 19, 2018

18 Influential Women in My Life

In honor of *International Women's Day* (March 8)


Have friends. Have fun. Laugh.
She may not even realize that some of my greatest learnings in life came from my mom just being who she is. Seeing the difference these three things make in her life has been a powerful example for me: both their presence and their absence.

"That's your privilege."
These words of hers are seared in my heart and mind forever. She spoke them in her last years during
a quiet conversation from her rocker - and the weight they carried, of all the women before me and how they made it POSSIBLE for me to choose a career, to follow my heart, to have a stake in this big world. Privilege is a weighty word, after all. It bears some responsibility and a strong message to make choices with intention. Our privileges were hard-fought to get. Take them with care.

EMILY BRONTE - favorite author of all time
The value of a vibrant inner life and imagination.
The heart is a complicated thing. We are beings of both darkness and light.

ISABEL MORCA - flamenco dancer, ballet teacher
Discipline. Focus. Effort. Beauty. Passion.
I have had many dance teachers over the better part of my 40 years. Isabel Morca, with her fierce personality and devoted instruction instilled in me the 5 things that will guide me in all areas for the rest of my life. Thank you, Isa. xxx

photo: UW Dance Dept

HANNAH WILEY - University of Washington Dance Department Chair
I have Hannah to thank for first seeing the TEACHER in me. A remarkable instructor, who prided herself on finding "that thing" that would make the difference for each individual student in her care. She pointed out, with eyes alight, that teaching was the thing for me during a teaching-dance course and promptly connected me with the esteemed Martha Nishitani as a mentor. Little did I realize at the time, she was totally right - teaching is my thing - only I have pursued it in the primary school classroom instead of the dance studio. Hannah - thank you for helping me find myself.

photo: Densho Digital Depsty

MARTHA NISHITANI - choreographer, teacher, paragaon of modern dance
choice matters
What an honor to learn from this great woman!! To teach alongside her in her University Ave studio - to sit quietly in the dressing room or her tiny office talking about life and dance. To have someone like her put her trust in me, to hear about life in Japanese Internment camp. I learned much from her - but the thing that stands out most is CHOICE. Choice within structure. The power of choice in learning (whether it be dance or academics) has solidified the perspective from which I continue to strive to teach.

photo: Smithsonian

don't judge a book by it's cover
I had seen Madeline Albright so many times on CSPAN and in the news... and I always thought she was a little 'manly'. Then I met her. Sitting next to her at a dinner party, she surprised me by being an absolutely lovely, feminine, and beautiful conversationalist. Then she excused herself, went to the podium and kicked ass. Women can embody femininity, relationship, and no-nonsense directiveness all at the same time.

DIANE CROSSLIN - my first grade teacher
People are complex. Life is not black & white.
I adored Mrs. Crosslin. She walked on water for me. (Perhaps my 6 year old self knew, somehow, that I would grow to be a first grade teacher too.) Then I caught sight of her smoking. Smoking!! I was devastated. My world spun. I had, until that point, seen things (and people, perhaps) as either "bad" or "good". It was at this point of struggle that I learned it's not either-or.

BETH ANDRES - high school calculus teacher
work ethic
A remarkable instructor, Mrs. Andres left an indelible mark that has served me well - how to stick with a difficult problem, think things through, and a very strong work ethic. Work the problem, people.

TONYA DAIL WATT - sister in law, RIP

for being the big sister I always needed and showing me what it looks like to be a strong, loving, confident, value-oriented woman. (And introducing me to BareMinerals makeup!) I miss you.

SARAH MACKENZIE - my sister and BFF
God. Grace. And the importance of a happy home.
If I begin to write here, I won't stop. So I'll leave it at that.

friendship. loyalty. love. resilience.
Be in my life forever and ever, dear friend! Miles will never distance us.

PAM MOREHOUSE - mentor and friend, K-1 teacher
love yourself. fight the fights that matter. take yourself lightly.
Humor, friendship, and passion for the important things about teaching underly all of our time together.

HELEN CHASET - principal at my first ever teaching job (Burning Tree Elementary, MD)
Relationships Matter. 
Never iron your husband's shirts. :)
Helen believed in me. She gave me a chance (repeatedly). She took me under her wing and made me a better teacher and a better person.

MARION RICHTER - reading specialist
"Rome wasn't built in a day"
Marion gave me the mantra that got me through my first years of teaching as I slowly built capacity and skill for my craft. These are words to live and grow by. She supported me in more ways than she knows and sparked my passion for teaching literacy.

AINSLEY - firstborn daughter
how to be a mother

ADELAIDE - smallest daughter
how to love, how to show unguarded affection (how I needed that lesson!)

photo: gettyimages

ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH - author, wife of famous aviator Charles

She wrote the book that every woman should have tucked on their shelf: Gift From The Sea

~Post inspired by the inimitable Holly Harris Wood  - from this post - writer, mother, and dearest friend.