Women: Our Survival History Is Our Path To Thriving

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05 March 2013
Women In History - Strong Feelings


With all that is going on in the world and economically, I have days where I don’t feel very strong at all.  I’ve had to put myself on a news diet because the repetition of the same scenes and stories trigger too much helplessness to make any difference. I temporarily forget my history and the strength it has taken for me to survive it and maintain my path of thriving.


Until a few years ago I didn’t know about the National Women’s History Project. I didn’t know of the countless stories of women who are now my role models.  Their stories bring inspire me and give me strength.


Though women’s history is mainly invisible, with a few honorable mentions, the contribution of women in history and today is everywhere present.  It is bubbling up to the surface all over the globe in unprecedented visibility calling for a more awakened humanity. Today, women need to connect with the collective history of womanhood, gain strength and courage and make our predecessors become known, especially to our developing girls.  They need these role models of substance not those of false media and technology.


On a more personal level now, it’s a good time to pause, breathe, and consciously think about the stories of women in your own life that have made a difference to YOU.


As I take that pause, immediately my nanny comes to mind.  I see myself through the eyes of a young child as I sit on the commode seat and watch her get ready for bed.  She begins taking the bobby pins out of her silver hair.  It falls long and slender down her back.  She has worn it up in a bun covered by her nursing hat.  As she gets ready for bed she talks to me like I’m a valuable thinking person, not like a little girl.  I like that.  In her blue-gray eyes full of love I see myself reflected back to me.


She was a woman of strength.  She married 5 times during her life.  She had two sons by her first marriage, my mother by her second, and took in her housekeeper’s illegitimate daughter and raised her as her own.  She was born in 1902 and died in 1962.  During that time she experienced both World Wars.  One of them took her son, my uncle Frank.  The irony of his death was that he was buried in Florence, Italy.  My nanny’s name is Florence.


She was a traveling and private practice nurse.  She went back and forth between Texas and Louisiana.  My grandfather was a big John Wayne kind of man with a drinking problem. Yet my grandmother had the strength and determination to not put up with that and divorced him, an uncommon practice during this time.


She was my person.  She was my safe, secure base.  The loss of her when I was 11 years old living far away in England was the single most devastating experience of my life.  The earth stopped spinning and the sun went down.  I felt the loss of her through my entire body.


I still wonder what she would think of me if she were alive today ….


Her life and her contribution to mine are intertwined for eternity. What she gave me is the nurturing love that women have to offer and the world desperately needs.  Though she was a nurse, she didn’t take good care of herself.  I believe this lack of self-care was part of what caused her to have heart disease and took her away from me while she was still so young.


Selfishly, I feel cheated because I didn’t get to have her longer …


I doubt she ever knew the valuable contribution of love and strength she gave me. I never got to tell her in person, but my life is a thank you. When I enter the abyss, she is always there at the bottom encouraging me to rise again.  That is the power of relationship and the power of a safe base of love.


Tell us the story of a woman in your own life that made a difference to who you are today.  She definitely needs to be praised, and now it’s the chance to do it! Let’s share our wonderful stories in the comment section below.




A life coach, parent coach, and family counselor, Deborah Chelette-Wilson is an expert in the field of human relations specializing in stress, trauma, attachment and relationships. Deborah has successfully worked with hundreds of women, children, families and professionals to replace fear and unhappiness with compassion and love.  To find out more about Deborah, go to her website: http://deborahchelette-wilson.com, or visit her on Facebook.



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