The Women in My Neighborhood

Today we celebrate 100 years of women having the right to vote.

But something has been frustrating me lately. Various groups recognize the strength and power of the women’s vote. They try to push us into action and get us to care about various causes, political issues, or certain elections. But they all seem to miss one vitally important fact about women.

We don’t all think the same.

I love that.

While we all try to navigate this election, it helps to have things that keep us grounded. For me, it’s the example of the women in my neighborhood. No matter how crazy and brutal political discussions get online (or in real life), I feel uplifted and strengthened by my neighbors. We don’t believe in all of the same things, but we are all doing our best to make the world a better place. Let me share a few inspiring stories.

One neighbor is extremely passionate in pretty much everything she does. She’s going to school and raising a house full of boys. She doesn’t let failures stop her. She is amazing.

Another neighbor several years ago shattered both of her feet. The thought of not being able to walk again didn’t paralyze her with fear, but inspired her to push herself to prove the doctors wrong. She now regularly hikes mountains — on her own two feet. Having overcome her own health challenge, she now strengthens her family, and our whole community. She shares her thoughts of hope and inspiration. She’s vulnerable about the days she’s feeling low alongside her moments of strength. 

Several mothers have stared down the fear of giving birth during this pandemic. Each one of them have not only faced their own fears, but reached out to help and lift others. 

One neighbor can tell you so many things about each family in the neighborhood. Invested in the welfare of her community, this neighbor pays attention and loves the people that surround her. Though she struggles with her own internal battles, she is there to fight alongside any friend or neighbor who needs her help.

Another neighbor regularly reaches out to me to see how I’m doing. Regardless of the multiple things on her own plate, and in spite of her own struggles, she never fails to think of others and make sure they are doing okay. 

And speaking of plates, several neighbors regularly share food. Food from their garden and meals that they’ve made. I think that’s just amazing. 

Another neighbor, at the start of this pandemic, started making story book videos for the kids in our neighborhood. Such love and care has helped me find that inner angel in those moments of dealing with less-than-angelic children. 

There are neighbors who jump right in when there’s an opportunity to serve. Whether that’s helping me with my insane mask-making project or stopping by to share some flowers, the joy these women spread is refreshing.

And not to wander back into the political topic, but several neighbors have helped me understand political issues better by taking the time to talk with me. I learn so much from listening to these women’s perspectives.

We are not all the same. We shouldn’t be the same. We agree sometimes and disagree other times. Each of the women I know personally represents the strength that comes from diversity, when it’s combined with caring for one another. It’s not about getting people to vote a certain way or to act a certain way. It’s about helping us feel our own value. 

So to all of the women out there — regardless of your political positions, your favorite version of Pride and Prejudice, or where you see yourself in five years — you are strong, you are brave, and you can change the world.

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