Lessons Women Taught Me

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All my life I have been surrounded by women. I was raised by women: mom, grandma and great-grandma. I lived with women: three sisters and boarding school’s full of bffs. I was taught by women: aunts, teachers, and many church ladies. I worked with women, mostly in hospitals. If you know women, then you know that women talk. Women talk about husbands, lovers, parents, children, love, hate, life, food, clothes, and everything in between. For most of my life these were conversations I could not join in. I was afflicted with an egregious speech impediment, stuttering. I stuttered when pronouncing nine-teen of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. As a child, whenever I would stutter my ears would flap (rather like Dumbo, which was my nickname in grade school). So for most of my life, unlike most women, I didn’t talk. Instead I listened. And I hope I learned a little from these amazing women. 

From my grand-mothers I learned manners, decorum, social graces, and tradition. From my mother, I learned that to be a victim often requires your cooperation. From my sisters I learned, to stand up for myself, to be strong, to be fearless, to say no and not to be afraid to be the one who hurts first. From girlfriends I learned that family has a multitude of meanings. From co-workers I learned that life should be cherished and enjoyed. From patients I learned that this life is just a door we all walk through on a journey that never ends. I also learned that this body is just a type of suit we put on and take off. From my daughter I learned that Love never ends, never weakens, never changes. From myself I have learned to keep on learning and keep on listening. 

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